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The pro-Nash analysis

Ever since Rick Nash was formally put on the block last season, we have had quite a bit of discussion on the topic here at BSB.  Interestingly, it seems our readers (and writers, for that matter) are pretty evenly divided in the pro or anti-Nash camps.  This is understandable given his large and lengthy contract, his (seemingly) declining production and his superstar status on a basement dweller.

If you read here regularly, you are aware that Dave and I don’t necessarily see eye to eye on a potential Nash acquisition.  Due to our never ending quest for objective examination, I asked Dave to give me an assist on some advanced stats analysis to dig a little deeper into the merits of rolling the dice on Mr. Nash.  Since Nash has experienced a production decline in each year since his 40 goal ’08-’09 campaign, I wanted to know if this was due to actual decline or if the decrease in surrounding talent was more to blame.

Dave was kind enough to run an advanced metric analysis for this post and here is a quick run down of Nash’s past three seasons*:
Note by Dave: I admittedly don’t watch much of the Columbus Blue Jackets, so there’s a solid chance I’m off on this a bit.

2011-2012
QoC Rcorsi Ozone % OGVT GVT PVT
Nash 0.058 -0.1 52.9% 8.1 11.0 3.67
Prospal 0.038 13.3 50.5% 4.6 7.1 2.37
Umberger 0.020 -0.8 48.6% 3.2 5.3 1.77
Brassard 0.019 0.3 50.7% 3.3 3.9 1.30
2010-2011
QoC Rcorsi Ozone % OGVT GVT PVT
Nash 0.018 4.5 57.1% 11.0 14.9 4.97
Umberger -0.003 2.3 53.4% 6.5 10.4 3.47
Vermette 0.005 7.8 55.3% 3.6 7.1 2.37
Brassard -0.012 0.6 60.7% 4.2 4.9 1.63
2009-2010
QoC Rcorsi Ozone % OGVT GVT PVT
Nash 0.050 2.9 49.8% 10.6 13.7 4.57
Umberger 0.028 -6.5 46.7% 6.8 6.9 2.30
Vermette 0.017 0.7 44.3% 8.9 10.4 3.47
Huselius 0.029 -0.1 51.6% 8.4 10.6 3.53

2009-2010: The only year in this time frame that Nash had legitimate help. R.J. Umberger, Antoine Vermette, and Kristian Huselius were tremendous assets offensively for CBJ. Nash was clearly the best, but he had a clear-cut points in the standings advantage over them. Interestingly enough though, Nash’s RCorsi in comparison with the rest suggest he did all of the work in maintaining possession, and the rest just benefited from him. This is the only year where Nash’s RCorsi was better than everyone else.

2010-2011: Umberger was Nash’s greatest asset this season, but the QoC suggests they didn’t play together frequently. QoC suggests that Vermette got the majority of time with Nash, where his 7.8 RCorsi was a big help. Nash himself had a good puck possession year at well. Nash again was worth more than a full point in the standings than Vermette and Derek Brassard combined.

2011-2012: It’s very clear that the opposition sent their best players out against Nash to shut him down. His .058 QoC was the highest he’s ever faced. Vinny Prospal was a key addition to the BJs, his RCorsi is through the roof and it appears that he helped make that line go in the way that Hagelin was a good fit for the Rangers top line. Even though Prospal was a great fit, Nash was still worth more than a point more in the standings than Prospal, and Nash was worth more in the standings than both Umberger and Brassard combined.

As you can see from Dave’s analysis, it seems as if Nash does indeed perform better with a better supporting cast.  Obviously, this is not a new concept for professional athletes, but considering the context of the team itself, it makes perfect sense.  The year before Dave’s research began, the Jackets finished with 92 points and made the playoffs for the only time in franchise history.  The three years incorporated in Dave’s work saw the point totals and most types of production fall of a cliff in Ohio, the only question is, why?

You could obviously place some of the blame on the Captain and highest paid player in Nash.  Conversely, you could blame quite a bit of the decline on Steve Mason’s horrendous run.  Bad trades/free agent signings also played a part.  Given the difference in line mates that Nash had with him in those subsequent years, I think it would be extremely difficult to expect him to keep up a 40 goal pace in those circumstances.  Don’t even start on plus/minus numbers, they mean even less than usual when it comes to the Jackets.

To start the season, if the Rangers acquired Nash, he would likely play with Richards and Hagelin.  Both of those players would be an upgrade on the dearth of talent Nash has in Columbus.  Since his decline in production seemingly coincides with a downgrade in peripheral talent and significant drop in success of the organization as a whole, I tend to believe a rebound in production would be very likely.

Will Nash be a 40-goal guy again in a system like the one Torts employs?  It’s hard to tell for sure, but there are no signs of physical decline in Nash’s game, only downgraded personnel around him.  I’ll take that scenario over a point producer who all of a sudden has a down year for a contending team.

Now, the contract.  Zach Parise just made Rick Nash’s contract seem like a bargain.  Obviously, $7.8 million per season is not chump change, especially in a salary cap context.  The term is so much more favorable in this case that it really is a no-brainer for me at this point.

Parise generally tends to out-produce Nash, let’s say to the tune of about 10 points per season.  Is that worth an extra seven years on a contract?  If both were free agents and you could have Nash for 6/$47 million or Parise for 13/$98 million, is it even a debate?  You are out from under Nash’s deal at age 34 versus 40+ for Parise.

In the context of the Rangers current contracts it makes sense as well.  Gaborik will be a free agent two seasons from now at the age of 32.  If the Rangers decide to let him walk, Nash’s hit essentially replaces Gaborik’s.  It also gives the Rangers more freedom to play hardball on a new contract with Gaborik.

All in all, while I think Bobby Ryan is a better value, Sather clearly covets a physical power forward in Nash’s mold.  I personally would love to see #61 on Broadway and I think Parise’s new contract has shown how expensive this type of production is becoming.  What do you guys think?  Has this analysis done anything to change your Nash position?  Sound off in the comments.

*If the Rangers actually acquire Nash, we will dig deeper into the metrics and systems to find out exactly how his game fits in with NY.

** Also, this entire analysis is predicated on a reasonable trade package to acquire Nash’s services.

58 Responses to “The pro-Nash analysis”

  1. Blueshirt in Paris says:

    Just a point that seems to be overlooked.

    Ryan is slated as the better trade since his cap hit and length is better than Nash’s.

    Has anyone thought past the next 3 years when Ryan will be a UFA? What type of contract will he command? And what about the possibility of him walking away to sign with another team of his choosing?

    There is a benefit of Nash being locked up for so long. Its the benefit of Nash being locked up and not hitting Free Agency after we give up assets to get him.

    • John says:

      Because Gaborik is UFA in 2 years, if Ryan works out well NYR can choose to pay Ryan Gaborik-class money, which he may or may not deserve. Also, in 3 years it’s impossible to say what kind of money players like Callahan, McD, MDZ, Kreider, Hagelin, Miller, etc will cost, not to mention having just about 7 million locked up in Richards. Hence, a little breathing room and a chance to re-evaluate in 3 years is, in my opinion, much more important.

      • Blueshirt in Paris says:

        But you are assuming Ryan would resign. Like NJD did with Parise and Preds did with Suter and PHO with Doan, etc…

        • Dave says:

          Doan is a bit of a stretch there because he wants to go back, but the PHX ownership issue is forcing his hand.

          But I see your point.

    • Zen says:

      I would rather have Nash for this very reason… among others. We also know that in order to get Ryan, we need to move Stepan. That might not be the case with Nash.

  2. Mikeyyy says:

    Stay the course. We don’t need either of them.

    I would take Ryan. But Nash. It would be like getting Roberto luongo. Good player but overpaid. I also cringe at dropping 20+ mil on a first line.

    • Zen says:

      Nash is only slightly overpaid, just like the majority of players in the league.

      The first line is where you are SUPPOSED to spend all your money. Elite scoring talent is how you win!

  3. Bill from Cbus says:

    You put Nash on a line that requires teams to defend all three forwards and he is a 35 goal 70 point machine for the remainder of his contract. In Columbus a center, wing and defender would guard/block him cause rest of team was worthless. Quiet giant, great off ice guy, just wants to win.

  4. Kris says:

    Heres why Im pro Nash. He brings a skill set this team does not have, someone who can create on his own. I look at a player like Pavel Datsyuk on Detroit, similar skill set and turns 34 this month (the age Nash contract is up). Datsyuk is 5’11 to Nash who is 6’4. Nash has more goals in less games. By more goals I mean more overal, pp/sh/gwgs. Nash has scored 30 7 out of 9 seasons while Datsyuk has scored 30, 3 of 10. While Datsyuk may have more assist cant even compare teams. Also, Nash best years were under Ken Hitchcock whos a pretty demanding coach, just like Torts.

    • Mikeyyy says:

      Who would you give up?

      • Kris says:

        Id go Hagelin, Dubi, Erixon, and either Thomas/Miller/Anisimov with a first.

        This way top 6 are Nash-Richards-Gaborik, Kreider-Stepan-Cally. Rostered D stay same

        • Dave says:

          First trade proposal that is realstic and provides good value going the other way. In the words of Suit “skinny tie for you.”

        • John says:

          What do you do while Gaborik’s hurt?

        • Mikeyyyy says:

          That’s a lot to give up….and you actually give up a lot in the process. That’s the farm, the d – depth and our left side….and dubi is great on draws.

          Also remember that Sauer is out, McIlrath is out, Gabby is out. Erixson has to make the team next year or its bickel time.

          Howson’s demands are still too high.

          • Dave says:

            To you and John…I would assume that this deal, like every other deal involving a superstar, would have pieces coming back with Nash.

            • Kris says:

              Id like to see them go out and get Peter Mueller and see what he brings to the table if he stays healthy he could bring some scoring to the third line when Gaborik returns. If not they can survive with Nash, Richards and crew.

              Thanks Dave, have read the blogs for a couple months now, first time ive commented.

        • Zen says:

          I agree that the trade proposal is solid. Just a fine point though… if Dubi & Hagelin go, then Miller will not. He is really the only guy in the system that could replace what Dubi & Hags bring over the next year or two. It would be like trading DZ and Erixon in the same offer… it just doesn’t make sense because Erixon would replace DZ.

  5. SalMerc says:

    I would include Kreider & Dubinsky and maybe a mid-tier player from the farms. Kreider has lots of potential, so use it as a selling point.

    • Blueshirt in Paris says:

      Interesting logic. Trade two players who have a realistic projection to score more goals combined than Nash at half the price.

    • Walt says:

      You can’t be serious, can you? Kreider is a deal breaker, the kid has a ton of upside to him, you can’t be thinking straight!

      • SalMerc says:

        Kreider has 10 games under his belt. Not a proven career. The league is full of guys with “potential”, but the money players do it year after year. Nash is money, Kreider is vapor. Tell me that Kreider in a full year with NYR will score 30 and then tell me if you are being realistic. He has a ton of upside, so did Hugh Jessiman.

        • TommyT says:

          Comparing kreider to jessiman is absurd, your logic is completely hearsay. kreider has the most potential of all our prospects. If kreider was deal breaker before playing a game he is off the table now after playing just 10.

        • Walt says:

          Like Blueshirt in Paris wrote, trade 2 players who have realistic projection to score more goals combined, at half the price, not a good idea.

          Kreider is vapor, I’ll take my chances any day with vapor. As for Hugh Jessiman, how many trades, and or signings, over the years really worked out for this team. After you think it through, then get back to me?

        • Zen says:

          Krieder = vapor. This guy makes me laugh. Nash is indeed a stud, but CK is too much of a sure thing to give up.

  6. Walt says:

    Nash would look good in Ranger blue, but at what cost. So would Towes, Ovie, Kovie, Crosby, Malkin, etc!

    Let’s get serious, we can trade for Nash, and give away the entire team in the process, then Nash would be in the same shape he is in now, on a losing team.

    Make a decent offer, then if they refuse, try to make a deal fo Ryan. If that can’t be worked out, play the kids, and let them all sit with the Nashs, Ryans, etc., and continue to lose!

  7. Justin says:

    Crazy how divisive a topic this is. I love me some Rick Nash (obviously), but Kreider is a deal breaker for me as well. I would probably be willing to give up more than most because I don’t view the contract as negatively, but for me it probably stops at Dubi, Thomas, McIlrath/Erixon and a 1st.

    • Cole says:

      I agree there is no way im including Kreider in any trade. Yes he does have potential and yes Hugh jessiman had potential, but did u watch the playoffs? The kid was that talented that the Rangers burned a year off his contract to have him for the playoffs. He’s showed he can do it, in the playoffs against some of the better teams in the East. You can’t trade someone like that IMzo.

      • SalMerc says:

        Move Kreider while he still has value. Nash is a sure thing. Don’t make any deals and stand your ground Slats. Then, Ranger fans, cry in December when you continue to lose games 2-1 with a 3rd & 4th line that mucks in the corner but CANNOT PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET. All of the players we signed still won’t help our breakout or score 20+. You want to see what Kreider can do, fine, but don’t complain when he turns into Scott Gomez!

        • John says:

          I’ve been watching Kreider for a long time, know him and know his game, and while I don’t think he’ll be a top-10 scorer in the league he’s going to be a force. More than anything because of his winning attitude and drive to improve. Granted that doesn’t translate directly to success, but the kid’s talented too, and is an awesome skater. Put all those things together and there’s no way you get a Gomez.

        • Zen says:

          Sounds like SalMerc is just trying to rile people up, because I can’t see how anyone would possibly think that Krieder is the next coming of Scott Gomez. Kinda silly actually.

          • Dave says:

            Nah, I just think he’s recognizes a limited window to win. I may not agree with him, but he’s not the only one who is thinking that trading Kreider to make a run is an option.

    • Dave says:

      Need 1 more roster player there to make it a deal Howson would bite at.

      Would have to assume another player comes back with Nash to fill holes left by the trade.

  8. John says:

    I think one really important question no one’s asking is: How will Nash’s style of play mesh with Richards’ and Gaborik’s? Richards is a distributor, for sure, but it’s clear that he and Nash both like to carry the puck in on the rush as often as possible. Similarly, Gaborik is a player who typically needs to have the puck on his stick to be effective. In a perfect world, you have Nash going to the hard areas, opening up the ice for Richards to make a bang-bang pass to Gaborik who can one-time it, or even a situation where Richards is passing to Nash who’s taking a booming shot and Gaborik is getting in behind the D for a rebound (or vice versa). But how often have we seen that kind of setup in Torts’ system? His emphasis on board play seems to stifle offensive creativity somewhat, meaning that–in my opinion–Nash is a better fit, with his bigger, stronger style of play, than even Gaborik. On top of that, Stepan and Gaborik seemed to have better chemistry together than Richards and Gaborik for the majority of the season, and while that may change I think it’s better not to include Stepan in a trade in case Richards and Gaborik’s chemistry doesn’t continue to grow–or, more importantly, in case a different top-3 RW is playing so well on the top line that you don’t want to move usurp him for Gaborik immediately.

    I can’t see how Dubinsky and/or Anisimov doesn’t leave in a trade for Nash, especially if I’m saying Stepan is ‘untouchable’, so I’m going to say the lines might look like this at the beginning of the season:

    Nash-Richards-Kreider/Hagelin
    Kreider/Hagelin-Stepan-Cally
    Pyatt-Boyle-[Call-Up]/Asham
    Rupp-Halpern-[Call-Up]/Asham/Haley

    Then, once Gaborik returns:

    Nash-Richards-Kreider/Hagelin
    Cally-Stepan-Gaborik
    Pyatt-Boyle-Kreider/Hagelin
    Rupp-Halpern-Asham

    And when/if Gaborik gets back to 100% ability, or if Kreider/Hags isn’t playing well on the #1, you switch them.

    But I guess my point is: I don’t think you can afford to trade Stepan for Nash, and I don’t think you can (or should!) automatically pencil in a line of Nash-Richards-Gaborik, because nothing wins cups better than scoring depth. Also I think Kreider will have a huge rookie season, but that’s a different story.

    • Blueshirt in Paris says:

      There was a pretty good article recentley, I forget where and by whom… I think Ray Ferraro was quoted in it.

      Basically it said that Nash still has a lot of ‘junior’ in his game. Trying to do too much by himself which is a product of playing in CBJ.

      They went on to say that he needs to stop carrying the puck and drive to the net more without the puck and rely/trust in his center to get him the puck.

    • Dave says:

      Nash carried the puck in CBJ bc no one else there could do it. With Richards, MDZ, and McD, there are enough puck carriers to allow Nash to do his thing.

  9. Mikeyyyy says:

    Why all the need for Nash? Is it because people think we can win a cup with him on the team?

    Do we think that addition by subtraction is the way to go?

    It took 10 years to get to this point, where we have great potential on the team, a farm system with decent prospects. Speedy players, with loads of upside.

    We built from the ground up…not just drafting but trades to get players that are young…and taught them.

    Dubi, Cally, AA, Stepan, Hagelin, Kreider, Boyle, Girardi, Staal, McDonough, DelZotto, Hank,

    7 out of 12 forwards groomed within. Gem of the NHL…you can’t deny that.

    In the wings, Borque, Thomas, Miller, St.Croix, Forgaty, Erixson….etc.

    Why trade for Nash, he is not a Messier, or a Yzerman, Gretzky, etc. He is good, I don’t doubt that, what I doubt is that we will get a good deal on him. Or better yet, we won’t get a fair deal on him.

    If that’s the case we need to move on, I think Semin would be a much better fit for two reasons, 1 we can sign him for a shorter contract, 2 We don’t have to give as much up to add him to the roster, cancer or not he is much more cost effective and pushes us toward our goal.

    • SalMerc says:

      I feel the playoffs is your proof that you need a sniper/scorer/skater. We played great defense in front of Hank, but almost every game was close. Did you worry when Kovulchuck or Parise were on the ice? I did. Not sure our opponents feared the NYR powerplay, our ability to skate out of the zone or any one player (other than Gabby). Give me a goal scorer. We have lots of unselfish players, but few who scare the opposition when they are on the ice. Remember that Kovulchuk was considered a cancer before he joined NJD. Maybe Semin with his baggage can fit the bill without giving up Kreider/Stepan, but be prepared to only see him on power-plays in the 3rd period of one goal games.

      • Seahorse says:

        i think the playoffs proved that stanley cup winners need 3rd and 4th line scoring and excellent 2 way play. i agree the powerplay needs to improve dramatically, but the best way to do that is start throwing shots at the net with bodies in front, too many open lane shots.

        i agree semin is sketchy, but a one year deal in a year that feels like itll be a step back year (5-7th in the conference, second round exit) but will put another year under their belts and a playoff heartbreak in the back of their minds. mine as well try him.

        though i like the thinking of a couple people to see what mueller can do, hes got talent and a 1-2 year contract doesnt hurt even if hes got concussion issues.

        lastly, im a big fan of Nash and i would love to see him in a jersey, but hes just not worth the price both in assets and cap space. but give me a reasonable deal (dubi, 1st, and maybe 2 of miller/anisimov/exixon/another 1st im in.

        p.s. do you thing columbus would accept a heavy draft pick package vs prospects and roster players if they are really in for the rebuild?

    • Zen says:

      @Mikeyyyy

      You are completely missing a major cog of the “build from within” method of developing your team. When you get the point where the CUP is in reach, you use your assets to TRADE for players that will help get you there or sign free agents that will help. In reality, when you say “stay the course”, you are pretty much guaranteeing that this team has a much lower chance of winning a CUP in the next decade. The players they have in the pipeline and on the team are good, but there is still a major lack of elite scoring talent. We have many players that would be 2nd/3rd liners on on other teams. That needs to change, which was as clear as day in the playoffs.

      Semin? Haven’t you read and heard enough about this guy to understand that he would be the worst possible fit for this team?

      • Mikeyyy says:

        Then maybe we need to change the way we play to win the cup.

        I don’t want to win one cup and wait 15 years to restock the system.

        We have the assets to win the cup….if gabby was healthy would we even be having this conversation? We would have been in the finals. One player does not make a cup contender. And A Nash trade could win us a cup….but so would doing other things.

        I don’t know, i am not drinking the koolaid on this one. I think there are other options and the asking price is too high.

        • Zen says:

          I do agree that if the price is too high, you don’t make the deal. But my point is that moving a glut of 2nd/3rd liners (Dubi, AA, even Hags) doesn’t represent a high price. Love Hags, but he will never be in the same stratosphere as Nash.

  10. Pete says:

    This looks/sounds to me as a classic under-value/over-value situation where Rangers fans are under on Nash and Over on their own.

    Lets try and stay objective if we can and realize that no matter what out personal feeling are about Rick he is still CBJ’s franchise player, their captain, their chance to start a rebuild and one of the best players in the league.

    Yeah, as a Rangers fan I would love to only part with Dubi, Thomas and scraps but thats about as realistic as dry water.

    Dubi had 2 decent seasons and last years debacle, Erixon couldnt really hack it at the NHL level and Hagelin has some moments but no one can say for certain he is a top 6 forward going forward, which leaves us with Thomas (never stepped foot in an NHL game) who is undersized and a 1st round pick which will be close to a second rounder.

    How is that exactly the best package Howson can get for Nash and the CBJ franchise? How many here would be happy for that package if the roles were reversed? (just trying to play Devils advocate…)

    • SalMerc says:

      Pete sees the light!

    • Sioux-per-man says:

      IF the rumor of Stepan, Dubi, and 1st. Would get it done, I would think Sather would have to let go of Stepan to get the deal done, and or maybe the next 2 1st round picks.

      Keep in mind Stepan is a 2nd line center that scored 50pts. His upside is as strong as it gets as a Center in the NHL. And the extra 1’st rounders have to help a building team. CBJ realise they have to take Dubi in the deal do to Nash’s contract.

      A few Prospects like a Thomas or Zucc’s rights, would still be very good prospects for the CBJ, and a very good opportunity for Zucc and Thomas to make the NHL. But by no means are they scraps. Look at what CBJ put on the ice last year? That means their farm has to be even worse.

      • Pete says:

        If that is the case, and Sather indeed trades Stepan, which will/should surprise many, then there has to be a corresponding move to fill the hole at 2nd line center. Internal options of Anisimov, Boyle or JT Miller just arent going to cut it. Curious to see what their answer would be to that…

  11. Mark says:

    I heard from some guy who has a “unbelievable” source that… there was a deal done this morning for Nash… involved was a guy that hadn’t been mentioned in the rumors (Boyle?) I have no clue, and I have checked everyhwere and haven’t seen anything…was wondering if the BSB guys that have pretty good sources themselves had heard anything…

    Thanks and no need to kill the messanger on being gullable, just was wondering if anyone else heard anything…

  12. SalMerc says:

    Another day without a bona-fide scorer on the roster. Yea, don’t worry guys, Artie & Boyle will put 25 in each this year and our power-play will magically jump from 23rd to 3rd. Hank will be stellar again and our monster off-season will make Prust all but a trivia question. Pass the Kool-aid.