A day after acquiring five-time All-Star Rick Nash in a blockbuster trade with Columbus, the Rangers received some other good news: The rival Philadelphia Flyers did not land All-Star defenseman Shea Weber, despite a 14-year, $110-million offer sheet delivered to the Nashville Predators.
The Predators matched the offer sheet Tuesday, retaining Weber, and the Flyers, who also tried to acquire Nash, are now out of luck on both fronts. The Flyers will have to look elsewhere to fortify their team.
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On the Rangers' front, swapping three players for Nash, who will host an informal session with the media in New York Wednesday, doesn't signal the end of their moves this summer.
Two of their top five defensemen -- Michael Del Zotto and Anton Stralman, both restricted free agents -- need to be signed. Del Zotto, who had a bounce-back season with 10 goals and 41 points in 77 games, is expected to agree on a multiyear deal; Stralman's date for salary arbitration, if a deal isn't reached before that, is next Tuesday.
The Rangers rolled out the red carpet for Coyotes free-agent forward Shane Doan in New York on Friday with tours and a dinner, and general manager Glen Sather said Monday that the front office was talking to other players, as well. Adding Nash, who carries a salary-cap hit of $7.8 million annually, "doesn't eliminate the opportunity to try and pursue somebody else," Sather said.
Doan, 35, who also visited Philadelphia, would prefer to remain in Phoenix with his family on a multiyear deal and is waiting for assurances from Greg Jamison, a prospective buyer, that the team will stay in Glendale. Among the other free agents in which the Rangers are believed to have interest is center Jason Arnott, 37, who was drafted by Sather in Edmonton and whom he tried to acquire two years ago.
Nash, a Maple Leafs fan while growing up in Brampton, Ontario, idolized Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour and later Mats Sundin, who wore No. 13. In 2000, in his first training camp with the OHL's London Knights camp, Nash asked for 13, but the club was superstitious. He asked for 16, but that was taken. The next day, he was given 61 and has kept it. His replica Rangers No. 61 jersey was already on sale at the NHL store Tuesday.
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