According to reports there are as many as seven teams who have had serious discussions regarding Rick Nash. This is exactly the kind of market Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets will have hoped for and exactly what the Rangers will not have wanted.
With Zach Parise apparently ruling himself out of a free agency switch to New York, Nash likely becomes the most realistic target for the Rangers as they have both the assets and financial ability to trade for Nash and can appeal to his desire to play for a competitive team. If Nash wants to play for a playoff team then the Rangers are a major player for the power forward.
The problem is, should the Rangers give up too much to acquire Nash (becoming increasingly likely if the market is genuinely competitive for his acquisition) he not only becomes the well documented cap concern (especially with Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist’s contracts already on board) but his acquisition may set the club back in terms of depth depending on what goes the other way.
Speculating on what the Rangers may send the other way for Nash is pointless until you realise which teams are actually in the mix, what teams Nash will seriously consider (in full control thanks to his full NMC) and what Columbus want as a center piece; for example if Columbus truly demands a starting goalie – as rumoured with San Jose and Niemi – then the Rangers fall out of reckoning.
What we can speculate on however is the absurd initial demands Columbus made around the deadline and if the market is now bigger for Nash there is little chance Sather can get the big winger for less than the demands he baulked at way back at the deadline.
The Rangers would be advised not to chase him cost be damned. If an Eastern conference rival wants to strip their organisation of assets and throw a big package at Columbus to acquire Nash Sather should let them. The Rangers cannot beat Pittsburgh, Philly or Boston long term with a lack of depth. Meanwhile, while Nash is hugely talented there are still question marks around whether Nash can be the piece to put a team over the top.
With less than a week to the draft, the Rangers organisation could be significantly different by next Friday’s first round because Columbus will likely insist on a first round pick in any package so a deal will probably be done within the next six days. The Rangers may see serious change or the landscape of the East could change dramatically in the coming days. Be careful with what you offer Glen.