Rick Nash, the elite power forward, wanted out of last-place Columbus by today’s trade deadline. The Rangers definitely wanted Nash, but the price, according to president and general manager Glen Sather, was much too lucrative. The result: No deal.
“I wasn’t going to dismantle…the organization,” said Sather, who acknowledged that he had spoken several times to Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson yesterday. “We’re not ready to do anything like that. We don’t know how far we can go, we don’t have any idea; we don’t have any idea of how far anybody’s going to go----with the playoffs you never know. But I like the chemistry of the hockey team, they don’t quit, they work hard, we don’t win every night, but we win our fair share.”
Columbuswas said to be insistent on demanding players that the Rangers brass deemed untouchable: C Derek Stepan or No. 1 prospect Chris Kreider, the big, speedy power forward at Boston College who is expected to sign a contract when school ends, as well as defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto.
The Rangers, who lead the Eastern Conference, were said to be offering Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon, a prospect such as J.T. Miller or Christian Thomas, and a No. 1 draft pick for Nash, 27, who has scored more than 40 goals twice and 30-plus four times. He has six years left on his contract, which carries an annual cap hit of $7.8 million.
“The price was high. I don't apologize for that,” said Howson, who said after the deadline passed that Nash had approached him for a trade. “It had to be high."
Sather explained that the landscape made it an unusually quiet deadline day. “There are so many teams in the hunt right now, and the ones that weren’t, were trying to maximize their assets. But we’re in a position now that we’ve got a lot of good youth in the organization, a lot of good prospects.”
Although it was widely expected that the Rangers were seeking secondary scoring and a puck-moving defenseman, the only deal that Sather pulled off was with Chicago, obtaining rugged, 6-8 defenseman John Scott, 29, for a fifth-round pick in the June draft.
“We’ve got a lot of games this month against some pretty rough teams,” Sather said. “He’s a real good factor to stop that kind of fooling around that happens at this time of year. He can play forward, he can play defense.”
Asked about the depth upfront---the Rangers are carrying the minimum 12 forwards---Sather said that beyond using Scott and defenseman Stu Bickel as spare forwards, he would look to the AHL and at a college prospect---without mentioning Kreider’s name---for help.
“We have kids in the minors, and some other people who are probably going to turn pro at the end of the school year,” Sather said. “We talked to a lot of people today, the way the deals were falling out it didn’t make any sense for us. We have a program in place, you’ve got to be careful in these situations.”