Nov
28

Rick Nash is Actually Good

November 28, 2017, by
rick nash

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

Continuing with the praise of guys who seem to get a lot of heat, let’s look at Rick Nash. His $7.8 million contract has been a lightning rod for people, and for good reason. Paying that much should mean star production. The key here is that “star production” can be a subjective term.

For Nash, it seems people are expecting 40-50 goals per year. I personally think that to be a bit unrealistic, as Nash has only done that twice in his career. However he’s been close to or has exceeded the 30-goal per 82-game pace for most of his tenure in New York. His injury riddled seasons the past two years being the only two where he hasn’t averaged a 30-goal pace. Injuries, especially concussions, can be very tricky.

But here’s the fun bit: Even when Nash isn’t scoring, he’s driving play all over the ice. Last year was one of his best, and he was a complete beast all over the ice. It was the most fun I’ve had watching him since he came to New York. It shows in the stats as well.

Nash is very clearly still a top line player. The good news is that with the Blueshirts, they have such talent up front that he can be the rock on the second line to drive the offense. He still draws attention all over the ice, which opens up space for his teammates.

Nash’s underlying stats are nothing to be excited about right now, as he’s middle of the road and actually under performing in all major stats –CF% (47.55%, 8th), xGF (11.39, 8th), xGF% (47.56%, 10th)– thus far. We might not see the CF% number improve much, but we should start seeing his xGF and xGF% climb. Specifically focus on the xGF%, which has been well over 50% for a while now.

The funny thing about Nash is that if he were making $4-$5 million, his production and on ice play would likely not generate much negative attention. However because of the deal he signed in Columbus, he’s a lightning rod for not putting up superstar numbers. Nash was never a 50+ goal, 100+ point guy. Few are, and that elite group certainly doesn’t include Nash.

With Nash, the Rangers have a complete hockey player who drives offense, kills penalties, and draws attention to himself on the ice. He recognizes when he has multiple defenders on him, finds the open man, and creates more offense. He uses his size and strength to lower the shoulder and drive to the net as well. There are so many little things he does that even when he isn’t scoring, he’s helping the team.

This is the last year of Nash’s contract, and he won’t get another deal worth $7.8 million per season. He will likely find a two or a three year deal between $4 million and $5 million. At that price, he’s worth every penny.

"Rick Nash is Actually Good", 5 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.
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22 comments

  1. Richter1994 says:

    Nash has become the whipping boy for several reasons, and let me just say that I am a huge Nash fan, but…:

    1) Put 5 “*s” next to this one, his lack of goal scoring in the playoffs. Nash was supposed to be the “game changer” that brought the Cup to the Rangers. Remember the “block” (Voynov?) of Nash’s shot in the SCF that would have found the back of an open net in that series? It would have been a huge goal at the time. That lucky glance off the shaft of the Kings player’s stick epitomizes Nash’s playoffs as a Ranger. Unfortunately, unless things change this year or in the future, this is how Nash will be remembered as a Ranger.

    2) Nash is really a “2 way” player, though his shot suppression would seem to indicate otherwise. He’s not the 19 year old that came up and was scoring goals by the bunches. The fact of the matter is that Nash played a number of insignificant regular season games before he got here because the CBJs were bad and always out of playoff contention. But Rick is a threat to score on the PK at all times and does not get enough credit for that.

    3) The contract. His goal production does not match it anymore. My prediction for his next possible Ranger contract is 3 years for $12M. Could he get more elsewhere? Maybe, but he loves it here, this is his family’s home now, and the Rangers love him, so a job with the franchise after retiring as a Ranger is very likely. Callahan missed this point big time and I’m glad he did as he signed with TB, lol (phew!!).

    4) Name me one other Ranger forward that gets as much attention from opponents than Nash does. (Silence). There is none. This is why I want Vesey with him, to take the attention away from Jimmy so Nash and Hayes can feed him to finish plays. But yet, Nash is still chastised as a player that should score a goal on every shift, because of his contract.

    I love the guy and no one can say that he doesn’t give it his all, because he does. He will probably get 40-50ish pts which will actually help the Rangers with getting Rick locked up for the next 2-3 years, hopefully ending Rick’s career as a Ranger.

    • cthockeyman says:

      Nash is a selfless, humble, likeable guy who is borderline HOF. Unfortunately if you do the math at year end it is hard to see how the Rangers keep him at any number while reasonably extending Skjei, Hayes, Miller and Vesey.

      • Richter1994 says:

        I actually read, and take this with a grain of salt, that cap is going up by about $5M-$7M next year. Which just happens to coincide with McDavid’s contract kicking in, Price’s contract kicking in, and the Leafs’ pursuit of Tavares.

        Yes, I’m cynical.

    • Stevem says:

      Checking on one of the other blogs, at the AM skate they had Vesey moved up to the 2nd line.. which means he’s with Nash.. you speak my friend, and they listen lol

      • Richter1994 says:

        LOL, thanks my friend. I wish I could take credit for it but after watching this team for a while, you get to predict how players may mesh with each other, based on their strengths and weaknesses.

    • Playground 9 says:

      Totally Agree Richter. Think Nash is one of the few guys that never takes a night off. Interesting comment about Vesey. Big Vesey fan too – just needs more time. (And bring up Lettieri already!)

      • Richter1994 says:

        Thanks PG9. I love Nash. He may not be the guy everyone hoped for but he’s still been pretty good, overall.

        I would love to see a bottom 6 of:

        Grabner-Miller-Zuc
        Lettieri-Boo-Fast

        This is assuming that Vesey is now playing with Nash and Hayes.

        • Stevem says:

          I will take someone who plays a 200 ft game, plays all three zones, and busts his ass every night any day of the week.

          • Richter1994 says:

            He really is a joy to watch. But no question, he is snake bitten, as he creates a lot of scoring chances for himself.

  2. jack johnson says:

    I firmly believe that it is unrealistic to think Rick Nash will sign a contract at 4 million per. Take a look at Patrick Marleau’s contract. 3 years 18.75 million. Rick Nash is a 5.5 million plus man. There will be plenty of teams fighting for his services. I hope I am wrong, but i believe the NYR need to go 5.5 to 6 to have any shot at keeping Nash.

    • Richter1994 says:

      then it won’t happen if that’s the $$.

      I don’t know but based on what I hear, Rick is very happy here. Money isn’t everything. Zuc took less to stay here and he was in his prime when he signed that contract.

      I hear that the Rangers’ great and first class treatment of its players is well known throughout the league.

    • Egelstein says:

      In my opinion:

      If the price is 3 years @$12MM, Gorton should be tripping over himself to put pen to paper before Rick changes his mind. Although, I think if the price tag was that low, perhaps an extension already would have been completed. Just pure speculation there, of course, but I don’t see why not.

      If the price is 3 years @$15MM, that’s still a contract that I think gets signed without much pause.

      If the price is 3 years @$18MM, I think that is where it gets pretty dicey, mostly because the Rangers have a fair amount of things to settle. Multiple RFAs, what to do with Grabner, backup goalie (assuming by the end of the year Pavelec still hasn’t quite impressed enough to consider him for a return stint at the same price), etc. I think he could get that on the open market, however.

      Nash is on record saying he loves living in NY and playing for the Rangers, as Richter noted. He said he’d be open to mid-season contract talks, which is something guys who are looking to cash in during free agency don’t usually put out there; they try to pinch the team into committing before the season starts at the threat of having no chance to re-sign at any discount whatsoever otherwise. His family, I presume, wants for nothing – and probably won’t for at least a couple generations if his money is managed well. He seems like the type of personality who puts a high premium on his and his family’s quality of life.

      I don’t know as he’d go quite as low as $4MM per either, because he most definitely would command significantly more in the open market…but I also honestly would not be shocked if he did, especially if he really wants to retire a Ranger and perhaps work for the organization in the future in a non-player capacity. If he really wants to stay here and try to win a Cup, and truly believes that this core can do that, I’m sure he is fully aware that there is only going to be so much money to go around to keep the band together.

  3. SalMerc says:

    Nash does a lot of good things, but as you stated, he is underperforming. Anyone in the top 15% of NHL salaries will be viewed under a microscope. He needs to score more for this team to be a real threat.

  4. amy says:

    Rick has been playing great lately along with Vesey and Hayes it is time to extend the streak a win against Florida and Carolina would help see you later

  5. pas44 says:

    For me, Nash dones’t have the X Factor, he doesn’t;t score the big big goals, I have watched too many break aways at critical times of the game go without a point off of his stick. I only remember one playoff run where he elevated his game.

    I know this comes on the edge of his amazing shootout goal, but still, all I can remember are misses that this team really needed from the guy billed as the show stopper.

    I will take his play for either the high or low contracts mentioned above, but I will still want the X Factor plays that I just do not think Nash comes through on.

    He is luke warm, rarely near hot and never on fire to me

  6. InvalidBeard says:

    I wish like hell he’d consider a slight change to his curve. He’s got this heel curve and holds his hands close together extended far from his body with a low lie, which is great for protecting the puck. I can accept not having a great shot from the slot, because he’s so great at getting the puck to the net. If he could just elevate in close, he’d add 10 goals a year. I have little confidence when he’s in the crease area that he’ll bury it. He usually just slams it into the end of the goalie’s pad. Maybe he could keep the stick and curve, but just work on getting low and dropping his bottom hand in those situations. Anyway, huge Nash fan. Want him to stay, and think he’s worth 4-5MM.

  7. DPeters says:

    For Mr Nash to score more often, he needs to learn to lift the puck. He would score 30 to 40 g o.k.ials per season. Watch tapes of games and you will find that he could pot more goals if he lifted the puck.

  8. GetBuch-ed says:

    So… Rick Nash successfully did so bad the last 5 seasons that we now can lower our expectations to the point where we can qualify this as good ?!? Even paying $4-5 mil on a 3 year contract for a “good” second line winger that will be 34 by the time he puts the pen to the paper isn’t worth it. He’s been inconsistent his whole time with the Rangers, that’ll get only worse with age.