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Replacing Rick Nash

Makes you wonder

Makes you wonder

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: There is no way to replace Rick Nash in a lineup. He’s the lone game breaker this club has, and his absence has created a gaping hole in the lineup. Concussions are a tricky thing, and the Rangers aren’t exactly known for their transparency when it comes to dealing with them. Lest we forget the lack of information made publicly in regards to Michael Sauer.

Nash has now suffered a pair of concussions in less than a calendar year, and it is unknown if or when he will return. If the Rangers project him to be out long-term, and we should find out relatively soon via LTIR, then expect GM Glen Sather to explore the trade market for a replacement RW. With Nash on LTIR, the Rangers are allowed to spend over the cap by Nash’s cap hit ($7.8 million). That’s a lot of extra money to work with.

Internal options are always nice, but the Rangers simply don’t know what they have in Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller, and the other kids who they hold in high regard. Don’t get me wrong, these kids –specifically Kreider– will get a shot at the top line and at replacing Nash. But expecting Kreider to replace Nash’s production is unfair. Considering this team, when healthy, is built to win a Stanley Cup, a proven winger could be on the horizon.

There are a few options on the trade market, Thomas Vanek from Buffalo being the most attractive and available option. Dany Heatly (Minnesota) and Paul Stastny (Colorado) might eventually become available. A healthy Mike Cammalleri (Calgary) could be an option as well. All four are pending UFAs.

Of course, the amount of salary the Rangers pick up in a trade would also be very telling as to the seriousness of the injury. All four of the guys mentioned above make in excess of $6 million per year. Acquiring one of them, without sending substantial salary back, puts the Rangers back at the cap ceiling. A major trade like that could signal that Nash is done for the year.

A more realistic scenario is one that has Slats going after guys like Curtis Glencross (Calgary), Lee Stempniak (Calgary), Brad Boyes (Florida), or many of the other cheaper options. They aren’t game breakers or elite talents, but they are middle of the road guys who could be a stopgap.

Needless to say, the Nash injury is a tough pill for the Rangers to swallow at the moment. With all the struggles this team has gone through, losing Nash long term would be critical. The Rangers are always hush-hush on concussions, so let’s just hope this is a short term thing.

47 Responses to “Replacing Rick Nash”

  1. Craig says:

    So far as a Ranger, Rick Nash has shown some nifty moves and spotty brilliance but has not consistently been the elite player we all saw in the past. He disappeared in the playoffs (most important time), and now seems susceptible to injury especially concussions. We gave up a nice package for him and I am starting to wonder how he is going to pan out and hope he isn’t another Eric Lindros in the making.

    • Dave says:

      Did you really just compare Nash to Lindros? Nash was on a 40 goal pace last season.

      • Chris F says:

        To be fair, Dave, in Lindros’ first season with the Rangers he put up a line of 37-36-73 in 72 games (over a point per game). Production took a dip his second year, putting up 53 points. However, in his 3rd year with NY, in which he was injured and only played 39 games, he still posted 32 points. So, I wouldn’t say that Lindros’ production was really ever an issue in NY. It was his health. And, health could be the issue with Nash as well.

      • bitterzen says:

        Yeh, and Lindros scored 37 his 1st year as a Ranger and then we all know what happened next. So I agree with Craig.

  2. Walt says:

    I never liked the idea of putting all your eggs in one basket, and Nash is an example of this. He goes down, and we have to scramble to fill a huge hole.

    Give me a line up like the 72 Rangers ( I believe it was 72 ) where we had some 10 players score 20 or more goals, and teams couldn’t just stop one line, the others would kill you.

    Going after a Heatly, or any of the others mentioned, except Stastny, is foolish. They are short term, fill in the blank for this season, type players, who are grossly over paid, and under perform. Ay least with the Stastny kid, he is still young, and you can have him for a few seasons. This is the main problem with this team, and the Knicks for that matter. We have to get a marquie name, who cares how far past their prime, we need that name, for people to hang their hopes on, bull crap.

    If we take a hit this season, and not make the play-offs because Nash doesn’t come back, so be it. Don’t trade away the future, and just develope our own kids. I’m probably in the minority, but I am so tired of the same old same old!!!!!

    • Puck Luck (@Centerman21) says:

      You’re 100% right bro but in this market, a loosing season is not really an option. They could go do a mid range guy like Glencross. This team has a limited window before guys become too expensive.

      • phil says:

        mid range guys aren’t going to put the puck in the net and that’s really what we need right now, going to have to go the other route

        • Dave says:

          Glencross is a nice piece. He’s someone I’d be ok with giving up a prospect to get (Bourque).

          • JCA says:

            Bourque has zero trade value. He is not projected to play in the NHL and may have trouble retaining a 3rd line spot in the AHL after his contract is up.

  3. phil says:

    Good write up Dave! I think we will see a major move before/around the home opener. Probably a deal for Vanek. NYC too big a market and the fact that Nash not even at the facility doing off ice is a horrible sign. Really feel for the guy. But the reality is Sather won’t sit still with the final stages of renovation finished. And no real scoring threat and in contract negotiations with top goalie. If Nash come’s back…other salary will have to be gutted later…so be it.

    • Walt says:

      Phil

      At what cost do we go after Vanek?? And he also is soft, I don’t want any more of those type players in this line up!

      • phil says:

        I hear ya…but we need to score some goals some how….

      • Dave says:

        Just because he is skilled doesn’t mean he is soft.

        • Walt says:

          Dave

          I never questioned his skill, I question his guts??????????

          Any game I’ve seen him play, he appeared to be soft, and we have enough of them. Example, Step, BR, Hags, Kreider, Boyle, Pyatt, Zucc, Pouliot, need I continue???? If we have to make moves, get some guys with skill, and balls, like a Lucic, or a Simmons!!

          • Dave says:

            I guess I need to question what you mean by soft/guts. Are you talking about guys willing to go to the corner/front of the net?

            Stepan scores most of his goals in front. Boyle/Pyatt are machines along the boards. Hags is a puck possession monster.

            • Walt says:

              And they all get pushed around, and never respond. I want to be a tough team to play against, not have guys out there hitting you with their purses. Two years ago, we fought, and played hard, that is no longer the case. That is the reason I’d love a Lucic, or Simmons on my team. Both have skill, when pushed, they respond. Maybe I’m asking for too much!

              I want a team like the Sharks, Ducks, and even this years version of the Pens. They are a tough team, plenty of skill no dought, but mean players. Englland, Adams, Tanner, I mean they defend their stars, we don’t. Maybe before we draft players, or trade for them, Slats should have them drop their draws to see if they have a three piece set!!

              • Dave says:

                Playing hard and fighting are not synonymous with each other.

                You are right, this team isn’t playing hard. Comparing them to Lucic isn’t fair, he’s not the norm.

  4. Bloomer says:

    WE all want Rick to come back but not at the expense of a full and complete recovery. The organization would be irresponsible if they try to rush Rick Nash back in any way, and I doubt if they would. I am a bit surprize he’s not on LTIR by now. If roster moves have to be made so be it.

    Meanwhile…..Tonight the Rangers meet the Flyers as the teams duke it out for the title of the “Biggest Loser”.

    • Dave says:

      I think they are waiting until he hits the 3 week/10 game limit before putting him on. Once he’s on, he needs to be out that long (retroactive to the injury).

  5. The Suit says:

    As much as I’d like to see kids get a shot, I can’t see Sather staying idol if Nash is out long-term, especially now that Torts and his mantra of building around youth is gone.

  6. Mikeyyy says:

    Lots of concussions so far this season.

    A head shot should be an automatic misconduct and a 2 minute penalty.

    And the offender gets an automatic of 5 games. 10 games 15 games. Increases.

    It’s unacceptable the dangerousness of a head injury and the propensity of players now hitting high in stead of at the numbers.

    • Walt says:

      I agree with you on the penalties, inclued the coaches in them as well. You will see how the crap stops when it hits their pockets.

      I fear for the long term implications with these head injuries. Studies are being conducted at the VA in Boston, and there are signs that too many shots to the head can lead to Alzheimers.

    • phil says:

      BRUTAL….my guess is we won’t see Nash until after the Olympic break…going to be a long rest…will be put on LTIR retroactively any day now….just not doing it while they are negotiating…not that its not obvious by the fact that he’s nowhere near the facility

    • Todd says:

      In regard to the punishment handed out for a high hit causing a concussion, I think the offending player should be out the same amount of time as the player that was hit. I bet you see everybody keeping their hits below the neck.

      If we are looking to fill the gap while Nash is out, I would rather see Sather grab a couple of grinding forwards with a chip on their shoulder i.e. Lucic material.
      I’m tired of watching guys like Boyle and Pyatt who can bang people into the boards but instead play a soft game in the corners. Not looking for dirty players just tougher players.

      • Walt says:

        AMEN!!!!!

      • phil says:

        I’d rather have a scorer, but I agree with you, I’d rather watch a couple of grinders with chips on their shoulders than the likes of Pyatt , Moore, Dorsett, Boyle

        • Dave says:

          Still find it unbelievable that Boyle is lumped into that group. Boyle has been one of the only forwards who hasn’t been a disaster this season.

          • phil says:

            I kind of agree with you.. I wish I hadn’t added him to the list…sorry Dave

            • VinceR says:

              My goodness! A commenter who admits a mistake! A rare breed, phil. :)

            • Dave says:

              Lol. All good.

              Pyatt, I’m willing to give him a handful of additional games. He played well with AV in Vancouver, so maybe there’s hope there.

              Dorsett, he’s better than this. Was in Columbus.

              Moore…he’s been what I expect.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Speaking of, did you see the John Scott hit on Loui Eriksson last night? Disgusting. “Players” like John Scott have no place in the NHL. It’s these types of hits that keep the NHL in the dark ages.
      It’s bad for the league when players like Nash and Eriksson are out for extended periods of time due to malicious hits from their peers.

      • Dave says:

        The enforcer is a dying breed in the NHL. Guys like Dorsett are becoming the standard. Can’t have one-dimensional players anymore. Need guys who can fight and play.

  7. phil says:

    UNLEASH THE KIDS AND LET THEM HAVE FUN FOR 2 WEEKS, WHAT DO WE HAVE 2 LOSE . BRINK UP KRISTO, HRIVIK, and ALLEN along with guys already brought up and let them run wild and fun for 2 weeks…..PLAY HOCKEY – fast and fun…sit the stiffs……how about that?

  8. Tim B says:

    I always liked Vanek. Comes with a high cap hit. Would love to see a line of Vanek-Richards-Nash. That would be nasty. Or kreider and put Nash on 2nd line with Cally and Sepan. They need to clear some space if you want him. Girardi is the oldest defensemen but Staal probably has more trade value. I am crazy but i would put a package of
    Staal, MDZ, Jason Wilson
    For Vanek and a prospect or a few picks. Than bring up Connor Allen and bring Bickel up as 7th defensemen.

    • Dave says:

      If Vanek comes in, and no salary is traded back (or retained), then Nash isn’t coming back this season.

      • phil says:

        Dave – how scary are concussions…the NHL should be donating serious money to concussion research…he skated 2 or 3 shifts after the incident….and now we are talking about the potential of being gone for the season…? wow..there really is no understanding/knowledge of brain injuries in sports yet

  9. paulronty says:

    I wouldn’t waste my money on any of those guys. I’d play the kids, Kreider, Miller, Fast & Kristo and let them gain valuable NHL experience. I believe if these guys evolve sooner than later we will have a very fast & explosive team.

    • Dave says:

      Well 3 of them are on the roster at the moment. Looks like the coaching staff wants to keep Kristo in the AHL for now.

  10. Hatrick Swayze says:

    Dave,

    Is there a deadline, so to speak, that the club would have to/want to place Nash on LTIR? Specifically, you say, “If the Rangers project him to be out long-term, and we should find out relatively soon via LTIR”.

    Any insight as to when relatively soon is?

    • Dave says:

      I’d say that moving Nash to LTIR is a sign they are making a move. They gain some flexibility with him on LTIR.

      For example, if he’s still out when Hagelin comes back, I’d expect Nash to be put on LTIR so the club doesn’t need to make roster moves to get under the cap.

  11. Steve Shutt says:

    This is not a Stanley Cup level nucleus even with Nash. There are some really good young players who need time and the whole core needs to be re-energized through the development system. In other words, no long term deals for players on the back nine. Please invest in scouting and coaching character guys so that they grow up in the system with the culture you want. Random guys joining the Rangers as their 5th NHL team are usually epic, overpaid fails. Mr. Sather, you were a legend as an Oilers coach, and at MSG it’s a great business venture (shooting fish in a barrel) but the talent ID and culture will probably not get you a Cup as it stands.

  12. Bayman says:

    If Nash is out long term, this season is hopeless. Focus on 2014-15.

  13. upstate tom says:

    stay the course with what they have. chasing the elusive replacement won’t do it, play the best you have in the system and let them grow. hopefully getting nash back at some time