According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the top brass has discussed the possibility of trading Rick Nash and have spoken to either Nash or his agent about it. The star right wing has a no-movement clause in his contract, which has six years remaining and a cap hit of $7.8 million.
"The last couple of weeks there have been so many rumors," Nash told the Dispatch today, sounding a bit uncertain about his future, "and when a team loses, more rumors keep on surfacing. That's it seems to be right now, is just rumors. I'm a Blue Jacket right now. I've played my whole career here and it's a special place to me. So as of right now I'm a Blue Jacket."
Consider these issues:
1. The last-place Blue Jackets certainly will dismantle some of the team if they can, including moving Jeff Carter, another long-termer. What they need is a young goaltender, a top defenseman and a top prospect, at least. The Rangers cannot offer a goalie unless there’s a rare three-team deal---or someone swaps a goalie for Carter, removing that need from the Nash equation.
The Rangers, who at least have to kick the tires on a potential swap, have no young backup like Cory Schneider, Tuukka Rask, the Kings' Steve Bernier or perhaps the Flyers’ Sergei Bobrovsky.
2. Quick math. Signing Nash means the Rangers would have more than $33 million of next year’s cap committed to nine forwards. Say Brandon Prust is resigned for $1.2 million. That’s 10. You could fill in and Chris Kreider might be in there at some point during the season. There’s about $17 million committed to four defensemen (Staal, Girardi, McDonagh, Sauer) and Henrik Lundqvist. So figure almost $52 million, plus $1.67 for Chris Drury’s buyout, lets round it all off to $54 million.
The Rangers have to give significant raises to Michael Del Zotto and Martin Biron and would still need two forwards (Feds, a UFA, and John Mitchell?) and two defensemen (Eminger and ???). So short-term, it can all be done for under $10 million, if the cap stays the same.
But what about the following two years?
In 2013-14, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, Artem Anisimov and Michael Sauer are RFAs. In 2014-15, Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi and Brian Boyle’s deals are up.
3. From owner James Dolan to President and General Manager Glen Sather to coach John Tortorella, the repeated company line is building to be a contender with developing prospects and the young core group, as part of a multi-year plan. The way the front office is raving about Chris Kreider, he won’t be in any Nash deal, although I could see parting with Dubinsky in the right deal.
Also, the team just spent $60 mil on Brad Richards last summer.
If there's no pact by the trade deadline with some team such as LA, Nash might be moved before next season, but IMO, not to the Rangers. One caveat: Most of the Rangers recent big moves have come in the summer (Gabby, Richards). I'm not even sure Nash would like New York. Or the work environment that Torts would demand. But who knows...