Members of the Hockey Independent crew have come together again for another series of offseason articles for your reading pleasure. The contributing authors to today’s piece will be Cris Cohen (New York Rangers), Seth Levin (New Jersey Devils), Alex Muscat (Detroit Red Wings) and myself, Benjamin Woodward (Boston Bruins). Each of us have taken on the role of armchair general manager for the sake of this feature. Over the next couple of weeks, leading into the July 1 opening of free agency, we will take a look at some of the players that are either set to hit the open market or have been rumored to be available via trade. Each member of the HI roundtable will propose a deal for the player that he/she believes to be reasonable for both squads.
Today’s discussion is centered around Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash.
Rick Nash (RW) — Columbus Blue Jackets — Age: 28 — Contract: $7.8 MIL through 2017-’18
Seth Levin (@levinakl) –
To Columbus: F James van Riemsdyk, G Sergei Bobrovsky, F Jason Akeson, F Brendan Ranford, 2012 First Round Draft Choice (#20 Overall), Conditional 2013 Fourth Round Draft Choice
To Philadelphia: F Rick Nash, 2012 Fifth Round Draft Choice
– I expect Rick Nash to become a Philadelphia Flyer in the coming days/weeks. The Blue Jackets and Flyers have a history of dealing with each other and I think Columbus has interest in a few assets the Flyers could dangle, including goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and forward James van Riemsdyk. While it certainly would take a couple more pieces to consummate a deal, I think Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has enough assets available at his disposal to ultimately get the deal done.
One major potential hold up would be if the Flyers already know if Chris Pronger won’t be able to return, it could force Holmgren to reallocate his assets to help out on the backline. Also, a team like the New York Rangers could swoop in and trade for Nash. A second potential holdup is whether the Flyers truly have a need for Nash. With a good amount of scoring forwards already on board, would the Flyers be going after Nash for the right reasons? Or would they be looking to maximize the asset value of a player like van Riemsdyk? Time will tell, but as I said earlier, my prediction is the Flyers will acquire Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Benjamin Woodward (@BWoodward_HI) –
To Columbus: F Brandon Sutter, F Victor Rask, D Ryan Murphy, 2012 First Round Draft Choice (#8 Overall)
To Carolina: F Rick Nash
– While many have been mired in constant speculation of a possible Carolina reunion for two thirds of the Staal trio, I believe that the Hurricanes have been preparing an offer for Columbus captain Rick Nash. The ‘Canes are a team on the rise, chock full of young players who’ve already made their mark at the NHL level (i.e. Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk). With the addition of a legitimate superstar winger to play alongside captain Eric Staal, the Hurricanes may be able to truly turn the corner and get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. In the prospects department, general manager Jim Rutherford has an embarrassment of riches from which to deal from (i.e. Brian Dumoulin, Zac Dalpe, Riley Nash, Evgeni Dadonov). This allows the ‘Canes to sacrifice a few, without completely mortgaging their future.
In Columbus, Scott Howson will be able to finally move on from the Rick Nash trade saga, while adding four key pieces to his team’s rebuild. In Brandon Sutter, the Blue Jackets receive a 23-year-old defensive centerman (and potential captain) with serious leadership qualities and a bit of a scoring touch. Offensively dynamic blueliner Ryan Murphy looks to be prepared to make the NHL jump this fall and should be able to greatly improve the Blue Jackets’ transition game. With Murphy and James Wisniewski quarterbacking the power-play for the next half-decade, Columbus could boast one of the league’s most potent man-advantages. Rask — once projected to be a top-five pick in the 2011 draft — and the eighth overall selection in Friday’s entry draft will add important depth to the Blue Jackets’ prospect pool.
The only potential holdup to this deal would be Rick Nash’s now-infamous no-trade clause. After making just one playoff appearance in nine seasons with Columbus, will Nash accept a deal to a team that has been out of the postseason for three years? I honestly think he would. He’d finally get the chance to play next to a proven superstar centerman, while avoiding the major-media spotlight of New York or Philadelphia.
It doesn’t have the same flair or pizazz as a possible trade with the Rangers, Flyers or Sharks, but in the end, a Rick Nash-to-Carolina trade makes an awful lot of sense for all parties involved.
Alex Muscat (@AlexMuscat73) –
To Columbus: F Nick Foligno, F Mika Zibanejad, F Mark Stone, G Ben Bishop
To Ottawa: F Rick Nash
– It was no secret in 2011-’12 that Rick Nash wanted out of Columbus, but the plug was pulled on a possible deal at the trade deadline. Any team that makes an offer for the face of the Blue Jackets would have to give up a top-six forward, a goalie and at least two prospects. There is plenty of young talent in the Senators organization and they can afford to pull the trigger on this one.
Cris Cohen (@cc_927) –
To Columbus: F Rick Nash
To New York Rangers: D Michael Del Zotto, F Brandon Dubinsky, F Artem Anisimov, F Ryan Bourque, 2013 Third Round Draft Choice (via Florida)
– As a Rangers fan, there are two things I dislike about acquiring Nash. The first is the personnel that needs to be sent to Columbus and the second is the length/cap hit of his contract with CBA uncertainty looming. Since the whole hockey world has the Rangers’ equipment staff already sewing 61s on the back and sleeves of a Rangers sweater, why not throw out one more in a long line of “Rick Nash to the Rangers” hypotheticals?
If Columbus wants NHL-ready players, they’re getting three here. Brandon Dubinsky is coming off his worst offensive season as a Ranger but should bounce back. He will work hard on the ice and does a lot of the things that don’t appear on the score-sheet. Artem Anisimov’s goal production has remained pretty steady in his three seasons (mid-to-high-teens). He still needs to work on being a more consistent player, but when he is on, he is definitely noticeable. Combined, the pair should provide Columbus with 35-40 goals, well within the output that Nash was providing. Michael Del Zotto would give the ‘Jackets another young defenseman and possible flexibility to swing another deal to help them get better.
If you’re Scott Howson — general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets –, which of these four trade proposals would you accept?
Filed Under: Boston Bruins • Carolina Hurricanes • Columbus Blue Jackets • Eastern Conference • Featured • New York Rangers • NHL • NHL Teams • Ottawa Senators • Philadelphia Flyers • Prospects • Rumors • Satire • Western Conference
About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.