Rick Nash Wants Out Of Columbus: Toronto Interested?
TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that at least two sources, (TSN’s French language sister station) reporter Renaud Lavoie and Columbus Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline have reported that Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is on the trade market.
In order for any of these claims to be true, Nash, who owns a No Movement Clause, would have to give the Blue Jackets a list of teams he would like to join, which means, despite the trade rumors, Nash is very much in control of his future.
Of course, just because Nash has presumably given the Blue Jackets permission to listen to trade offers, there is no guarantee that he gets moved.
Clearly, a player with Nash’s impressive resume would command a large return, a return which few NHL teams are willing or able to offer the Blue Jackets.
Let’s face it, a player of Nash’s caliber will fetch a very healthy return for the Blue Jackets and with Nash presumably forwarding a limited list of teams he’d be willing to join the matter becomes all the more complicated.
While there are few NHL teams able to put together a suitable package for Nash just about every NHL team would love to add Nash to their lineup. With the NHL trade deadline just two weeks away, look for Nash rumors to run rampant with just about every conceivable team, including the Toronto Maple Leafs being mentioned as a possible destination for the 6’4”, 219 pound winger.
Drafted first overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by Columbus, Nash owns a long list of accomplishments, including five All-Star appearances, an Olympic gold medal with Team Canada in 2010, as well as earning the Maurice Richard Award as the NHL’s goal scoring leader (41) in 2003-04.
Through 56 games this season Nash has registered 18 goals (4 PPG) and 21 assists for a total of 39 points. His minus -22 rating on the season is more a reflection of his team’s poor overall defense than anything else, which will cause most suitors to overlook that statistic.
Through eight NHL seasons Nash has registered 277 goals and 250 assists for a total of 527 points, for an average of 0.81 points per game.
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke has long awaited a chance to land a player of Nash’s size and ability. In order for Burke to land Nash a couple of things have to happen.
First, Nash must give Columbus his blessing to explore a trade with the Maple Leafs, which may or may not happen. Second, Burke would have to be willing to give up a king’s ransom, which will likely include at least one roster player, a top prospect and a first round draft choice.
While not the big body centre Burke has longed for, Nash could potentially transform the Maple Leafs undersized forward corps, adding size, grit, leadership and of course some serious scoring prowess to the Blue and White’s lineup.
While the entire Leafs Nation would love to see Nash in a Maple Leafs’ uniform I wouldn’t hold your breath.
When you think of the Maple Leafs overall talent pool, top prospects that may be available in comparison to what other NHL teams may offer up as well as the cap issues that may evolve when you consider bringing in a player that carries a cap hit of $7.8 million through 2017-18, it will be tough for Burke to pull off a deal of this magnitude.
Let’s face it folks, Nazem Kadri and Luke Schenn will NOT be enough to land Nash, so get that out of your heads! Kadri and Schenn may be part of a potential deal, but I still see Burke having to sweeten the pot significantly in order to land Nash.
That said, stranger things have happened, and if Nash is willing to come to Toronto(which there is no guarantee of) there is no doubt in my mind that Burke will do everything possible to make it happen.
Look for the usual teams to surface as the most likely to acquire Nash, including the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks and of course the Maple Leafs.
From the outside looking in I would say the Blue Jackets, while weak in all areas, should be looking to acquire a goaltender, draft picks and a forward prospect to help off-set the potential loss of Nash. The Los Angeles Kings could off up goaltender Jonathan Bernier as part of a package, while the Rangers have talented forward Chris Kreider to offer. Another team that might take a shot at Nash are the Vancouver Canucks, who could offer up goaltender Cory Schneider and/or forward Mason Raymond for starters.
While the Maple Leafs have a number of young forwards and defensemen to offer, the likelihood of Columbus being interested in one of Toronto’s young goaltenders is slim, which may put the Maple Leafs out of the Nash discussions.
One thing is for sure, the possibility of Nash being available will serve as great trade fodder in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, this is going to get very interesting!
Until next time,