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If Nash Arrives What Does It Say About the Franchise?

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.

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  • I respectfully disagree with the fundamentals of this post. You and Dave are on polar opposite sides of the spectrum from me with regards to this type of acquisition, but I must say this is extremely well written and almost had me convinced.

    Cheers to you mate.

  • While winning a cup would be great this year you can’t just throw it all away for the next 5 or so. The odds of this team winning this year would be increased if they got Nash, but they could win it all without him if they added someone else which I’m pretty sure they will.

    In a non salary cap world I’d be fine with dumping a ton of the prospect pool for Nash, but not in this day and age.

    If Sather does end up getting Nash which I really hope he doesn’t, him and management better draft superbly for the next 3 drafts or so because that’s what we’ll be relying on.

    • But this my point, there’s still a lot in the organisation after a Nash acquisition! It’s not like the org. Suddenly become empty. 5/6 good years have seen the org fill up the cupboards…

      For the record I don’t like Nash contract. I don’t like the commitment to him, but at the right price I wouldn’t be averse either.

  • Very persuasive post Chris, well done. I am of the belief that when assessing the prudence of a deal like this, it must be done in a context specific analysis. It drives me crazy when people fall into the “We’ve prioritized expensive superstars in the past and it hasn’t worked” trap and dismiss a possibility to improve the team.

    In the salary cap NHL (which for the record, I think is the most evil thing to ever happen to pro sports) the window to contend before cost controlled players get too expensive to keep together for the long haul closes quickly, and if the foundation is in place to continue to produce quality young players, it makes sense to take a risk. Now, evaluating that risk depends on multiple factors; cost, injury risk, salary cap implications etc., but I think to dismiss a major upgrade under the guise of “don’t give up the kids, we can win a cup without ____” is not doing the proper diligence.

    Since I haven’t had conversations with Scott Howson, I have no idea what it would really take to acquire Rick Nash. It’s entirely possible that he is so cost prohibitive that it makes no sense. But with all the different analysis of a possible deal to digest over the past few weeks, I’m actually coming around on the idea of acquiring him. The 2014 free agent class is not particularly strong in top end players (unless you are a big Phil Kessel fan or think Pitt would actually let Malkin walk) and since resigning Gaborik to a big money deal at age 32 is probably not the best allocation of resources, Nash fills that void at age 29.

    Nash is a former number 1 overall pick, the type of player that the Rangers (assuming they continue to be at least be a playoff team) don’t usually have access to. It’s crazy to me that we, as a fan base, are vilifying Nash as a big money mercenary, when he signed a long-term deal with the worst franchise in the NHL. Who could blame him for wanting to contend considering the Jacket’s outlook?

    Also, (almost done, I promise) when we look at Sather’s recent trading record, I believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Whether it was acquiring McDonagh for freaking Scott Gomez or the Erixon heist last year, Glen has shown himself to be a competent trader. If Nash is acquired, it is borderline irresponsible to call back to the days of the early 2000’s philosophy. It is simply not the same situation.

    • Well said about both the future free agency class and his commitment initially to CBJ. he’s no mercenary. I think as you say, as I said previously, it all comes down to cost to acquire. I just don’t think people should be too scared of the cap…

      • I agree Chris. Nash’s salary would essentially replace Gabby’s after two years, then you have a 4 year commitment to a 29 year old….tough to find that on the open market

        • I actually think Gaborik will be a little longer than his current deal; but… Not on the same terms which essentially means more cap space.

  • My only fear in getting Nash is that the Rangers might end up like the Blackhawks the year after they won the cup. They had to trade away everyone because they gave Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell massive contracts, which completely destroyed their team chemistry. All the players say this is the best locker room they’ve ever been in and I don’t want the cap to cause them to have to blow it up. Stay the course, make a minor deadline deal (Ray Whitney?) and even if they don’t win the cup this year, there’s always next year.

  • I like fair a deal for Nash, how many guys currently playing could possibly be moved to disrupt the whole teams chemistry. I Also like a deal for selani? Any real smart duck fan would want to see him traded for a chance to win a cup?

  • I am so sick and tired of all this Nash talk, it is reminiscent of all the Stastny talk last year. I have faith that the Rangers management will make the proper choices to maintain the health of the organization and not just the parent club for success in years to come and not just for this one year. The Rangers have shown some incredible consistency all year long to avoid major losing streaks and one heck of a winning percentage.

  • Well written analysis, good points, and discussion!

    That stated, let Nash go! Get someone that will not kill our locker room, cap space, and system. I like the make up of this team, minor tweek here, and there is all we need. With the best man in net, Hank, top defense, great team chemistry, all we need is some minor adjustment, and we will compete for the cup, if not win it this year!!!!!

    • Walt, do we have any reason to believe Nash would kill our locker room? I have never seen a report that he is a bad guy/teammate? I think we are jumping to a lot of unfounded conclusions about what any acquisition would do the the dressing room.

      • Don’t misunderstand me, that is not what I’m saying, but the guys all jell so good with each other, I would hate to see that go by the way side!

  • Rangers fans, to me, are getting too confident. They don’t realize that other teams are only going to improve their level of play from here on out and possibly even acquire some solid talent at the deadline. Our team is also very young and you can’t expect kids to be able to rise to the occasion in the playoffs. Whether it is Nash or Whitney (etc.), we need to find either an elite goal-scorer or a known strong playoff performer (who scores goals) to take some pressure off our players. Playoff hockey is a different animal. It is harder to score and that causes many players to squeeze the stick a little harder and often miss goals they would usually get in the regular season. I personally think getting Nash (within reason) is a solid move for today and beyond. There will be no cap or chemistry issues, so why not. I am okay with a guy like Whitney too though.

  • Let’s face it. After checking cap geek. We would need to move both dubo and wowo to stay under cap.

    They can’t demote Wolski because at a 2 mil cap hit everybody would sign him…or sign him just to piss off slats..

    So dubi, wowo, and some package of prospects and picks. For an overpaid player. We can’t keep not looking forward and expect to have a good team in 3 years. Otherwise we have a group of overpaid players for what?

    A cup run? This isn’t the early 90s. For 7 mil a year the guy needs to put up really good numbers. And he doesnt.

    So when did the going rate for 50-60 pts per season guys go up to 7 million.

    I mean really would you pay 14 million for two guys that score 50 points each a season. Man we are expecting dubi to score that much.

    The whole Nash thing is smoke and mirrors.. Here’s what happens by trade deadline day. Slats makes another brilliant move, sells off wolskis contract for some more stud prospects. That’s it. Nothing else. Maybe dubi goes but I doubt it.

  • Excellent article. I would agree if Nash is the talent you think he is. Personally I feel Nash is a tad overrated and not needed in this cohesive Rangers locker room. The Rangers have room to make a mistake to give up a prospect or two and still be ok. Nash, to me, just is not worth the risk.

  • The Rangers need scoring. Nash has averaged over 30 goals per season in his career. He would help an anemic power play. If they don’t get Nash, they’re likely going to try to sign Zach Parise this summer. Either way, you have future cap concerns. The key will be not to give up too much for Nash. Dubinsky, JT Miller, this year’s 1st round pick and maybe Erixon. With Nash, the Rangers are a better club and have a better chance of winning it all.

  • 3 observations

    1 cap hit is manageable if the Rangers can trade Richards in the off season to a western conference club for an assortment of picks and tort”s type top 6 players

    2. The Rangers can actually attempt totradeDubi WW 2 prospects and 1 first round pick for Nash and the CBJ 2nd and 6th round pick the next 3 years. That way getting future players when they are needed

    3 The Rangers also need bottom6 forward help in the next 6 days

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