The Rick Nash trade has finally been completed after months of speculation and rumors about potential destinations and outcomes. Finally, Nash has a new home, as on Monday afternoon word broke that Nash has been traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the New York Rangers.
Nash’s presence immediately gives the Rangers the kind of top flight scoring threat they desperately need. Even better, it comes in a 6-foot-4 frame, adding not just scoring ability but also size and a physical presence as well. And Nash is still just 28 years old.
Nash has scored 289 goals and has 547 points across nine NHL seasons, all of which had been in Columbus. In 2002, he was drafted 1st overall by the franchise, and rose to become their captain by the 2008 season.
He has scored 30 or more goals in seven of those seasons, and has played in at least 74 of 82 games in eight of nine years.
While Nash didn’t come free to the Rangers, the haul wasn’t all too bad. The primary pieces the Rangers parted with were Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, along with a 1st round draft choice.
Dubinsky is a gritty guy, and a fan and locker room favorite, however, didn’t always mesh with coach John Tortorella, and struggled mightily in 2011-2012 getting the puck into the back of the net, scoring just 10 times. Anisimov showed great flashes and promise, but wasn’t yet a consistent threat, and also didn’t always have the elusive favor of Tortorella.
The young core of the team, who I cautioned against trading in an earlier article, still all remain in New York. That includes defensemen Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto, and forwards Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.
In addition to those players, you can now slot in Nash as the left wing to a line with veteran offensive leaders Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. That’s a line that could, and should, produce 100 goals per season.
The Rangers, an unexpected number 1 seed in 2011-2012, will now enter the 2012-2013 season with lofty expectations. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is coming off the best campaign of his career, good enough for the Vezina Trophy, a core of young players is intact, and bolstered by postseason experience, and Nash gives the team the reliable, physical scoring presence it has sorely lacked.
This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo Sports, July 23, 2012