With the Blue Jackets and their dead man walking GM Scott Howson hoping – and actively seeking – an auction to develop for star winger Rick Nash, it’s still likely Nash ends up elsewhere than Madison Square Garden. That said, let’s play Devil’s advocate for a minute and assume the Rangers acquire the hugely talented (but overpaid) winger.
Naturally, this all depends on the package going back to Ohio (and subsequently, the demands of which are why Nash may end elsewhere) but it will be hard to overly criticise Sather and his team if they do choose to acquire Nash. Things this time around are so much different.
Simply put, if Nash becomes a Ranger it does not mean the Rangers have deviated from their franchise plan, their concept. It would not mean a return to the dark days of playoff-less hockey, of a dressing room full of aging mercenaries.
The Rangers, as constructed, are built for the long haul. They are built to a plan; they are young and have core pieces in place for the foreseeable future. Barring a serious regression in a number of players this should be a competitive team that can make a few playoff runs. With Lundqvist in net, the likes of Callahan, Gaborik, Richards, Stepan and Hagelin established up front and the hugely impressive defensive corps in place this team should be strong.
This isn’t Glen Sather going shopping to fill huge voids any more. He’s not simply throwing mud (AKA Dolan’s chequebook) at a wall and seeing what sticks. This is a team that is looking for additional pieces to build a champion. Any significant trades Sather makes (Nash included) wouldn’t see Sather use assets from a dwindling asset pool; this is not a franchise devoid of future talent. Far from it.
You may not agree with any of the packages mooted that get used to acquire a major talent like Nash. Indeed, fans may – usually – value prospects/players/picks more than the management do but either way you look at it, the franchise will have plenty left in the tank should they move assets to acquire a Nash like player.
What does this tell us? Don’t worry about the franchise because several assets are moved to acquire a big name player. Don’t worry about the cap and the necessity to sign players down the road. This team has a chance to do something very special this season and face facts, do something this franchise has done just four times in its history: win a cup. If the team won the cup with Nash it would still be a team built from within first and foremost. If a popular player and a prized prospect or two were the cost of a Stanley Cup (made in Manhattan) sign me up.
Cap mathematics come in to play in the summer, of course they do. However, over the next season or two plenty of cap comes off the roster that would allow for a player of Nash’s expense to be absorbed. Nash isn’t worth 7.8 million per year but that’s not the point here. If a player of his ability can be brought in and help the club win and the club still has enough prospects and financial flexibility to keep sustaining the roster after any such acquisition (it has by the way) that’s a good place to be in.
Sather has had a highly successful period since the lockout. It’s why he has earned some trust as we approach the deadline. This Rangers team is Rangers built and if they go out and buy some talent to aid a successful period be thankful that this deep-pocketed franchise has the ability to go out and do that. The franchise isn’t veering from the concept it has developed over the best part of a decade just because Rick Nash is in town.