Rick Nash Trade List: NY Rangers, Red Wings, Penguins, Bruins, Flyers

Rick Nash trade list now includes six teams: the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks. Is a trade imminent?

Rick Nash has received plenty of attention now that the list of available NHL free agents is short. Committed to a lengthy contract on the worst team in hockey, it’s hard to believe that there’s a short list of only six teams that Nash is willing to leave the Columbus Blue Jackets for via trade. Literally every team in hockey would be an improvement, but Nash seems to covet his ability to block trades. With such limited options, will the Blue Jackets be able to deal Rick Nash for a package that meets their high asking price?

The New York Rangers have the prospects, but will they commit? The Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Philadelphia Flyers are looking for forward help after missing out on Zach Parise and Rick Nash is a solid silver medal. The Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, perennial contenders for the Stanley Cup, are logical destinations for Nash as well, but do they need him and can they get him? The combination of Columbus’ high asking price and Rick Nash’s shocking selectivity makes a deal seem far from imminent.

The Rangers are the favorites to land the services of the 30-goal scorer, but do the New York Rangers really need Rick Nash? The last time Nash was in Madison Square Garden, chants of “we don’t want you” echoed through the arena. His big contract would lock up the Rangers financially for years after locking up Brad Richards, likely for the rest of his NHL career. The young core of the New York Rangers is one of their biggest assets moving forward. The package of prospects that the Columbus Blue Jackets are asking for is entirely unreasonable, and until the price comes down the Rangers have no reason to pursue Rick Nash with the gusto required to land him in a trade.

Additionally, Rick Nash would never fit into the John Tortorella system of blocking shots and playing two-way hockey. Rick Nash is not a defense-first forward. If the Rangers acquire the Blue Jackets winger, they risk derailing the momentum of last season that their prospects helped cultivate. Two games from the 2012 Stanley Cup final, the Rangers simply don’t need Rick Nash. As the rowdy fans of MSG suggested, they shouldn’t want him either.

The Detroit Red Wings are getting desperate, but the can’t compete with the trade package the Blue Jackets seem to think Rick Nash is worth to the Rangers. The Red Wings are old and looking to rebuild. Unless the Blue Jackets drop their price, I don’t see how the Red Wings land Rick Nash. The Boston Bruins are in a similar boat, and their grinding style of play has come to be defined by their lack of a star scorer. I don’t see the Bruins disrupting their franchise to land Rick Nash, but it seems a bit more likely than Nash going to the Detroit Red Wings. Realistically, the same is true of the San Jose Sharks, who are built around a group of veteran scorers and likely won’t part with what young talent they do have.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are an interesting option for Rick Nash. Playing with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the loaded Penguins offense is obviously the appeal for Nash. Crosby could use a winger that can finish and Nash could certainly be that guy. The Penguins don’t play any defense (just ask the Philadelphia Flyers), so Nash’s ability to score is the only factor here. It’s still difficult to imagine anyone meeting the package that the Blue Jackets are reportedly asking for from the New York Rangers.

If there is a team that can match the New York Rangers’ prospects, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers. They likely won’t part with Sean Couturier, their first round pick last year, but that shouldn’t matter. Jakub Voracek, Matt Read, and draft picks is solid value for Rick Nash – particularly since the trade banter is entirely orchestrated by the Columbus Blue Jackets themselves as they rebuild. If the Flyers can’t work out a trade for Bobby Ryan in Anaheim, it wouldn’t be surprising if they land Rick Nash. Then again, letting their young players develop and making a move on one of the many big name free agents next year, such as Shea Weber, might be the best course of action for the franchise going forward.

Ultimately, it would surprise me if Rick Nash moved anytime soon. He has a big contract with a lot of years left on it, and for whatever reason he seems happy in the Columbus basement. The New York Rangers shouldn’t bring him in, nor does parting with top prospects make any sense. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, and San Jose Sharks may simply lack the means to acquire Rick Nash. The Philadelphia Flyers can do it, but he appears to be off their immediate radar at the moment. Perhaps Rick Nash naming the list of teams he’s willing to accept a trade to will help expedite the process, but for now it seems a trade is far from imminent. Besides, Alexander Semin and Shane Doan are still available and neither requires a package of prospects and picks.

Insipired by the comments under this post: Do the New York Rangers need Rick Nash to contend, and at what price?

Mark Donatiello
Follow me on Twitter:  @FasterHockey ...read more

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