Irresponsible Rumormongering

Potential trade target: Riley Nash

Nash, of the Riley variety.
Nash, of the Riley variety.

In my daily perusing of pending free agents on bad teams, I came across Riley Nash of the Carolina Hurricanes. The 25-year-old center is in the final year of his second contract, one that pays him at a $575,000 cap hit. Basically peanuts. This year is, for all intents and purposes, Nash’s second full pro season. On paper, Nash is a 52% faceoff guy who put up 10-14-24 in 73 games last year. He has 4-6-10 in 13 games this year.

A few things jump out at me about Nash. He’s a right-handed shot (hooray!) who is putting up solid numbers thus far on an awful Hurricanes squad (and he wins faceoffs). His 18% shooting rate won’t last, but he’s been an 11% shooter over his NHL career. That’s actually pretty good. The uptick in goals this year is a combination of the unsustainable SH% and his willingness to shoot the puck more. Regression is expected (he’s not going to be a 75 point guy), but he will certainly eclipse his career highs this year.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Nash’s game this year is the incredible improvement at driving puck possession. He’s one of the top possession forwards for the ‘Canes at a 54% FF (4.65% relative) while getting 54% of his starts in the offensive zone. I’d be a bit concerned about his WOWY’s over his two-year sample size, but this year has been a major improvement for the young center.

Nash would fill an immediate hole in the lineup as the 3C. Kevin Hayes would benefit from time in the AHL, and Dominic Moore really needs to be the club’s 4C. Nash plays in all situations too, averaging 13:30 at ES, 2:27 on the PP, and 2:15 shorthanded. He would be the ideal trade candidate for the Rangers.

Therein lies the problem: Nash is second in TOI for the Canes behind Jiri Tlusty. The Canes know how successful he’s been this year. I’d expect that Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal would be ahead of Nash too, if not for the injuries. But that still puts Nash in the top-six in terms of ice time. Teams just don’t trade players like this for nothing.

Nash is a guy that the Rangers would need to package a solid prospect to acquire. It wouldn’t need to be a Pavel Buchnevich/Anthony Duclair type, but it would need to be a notch below. Someone like J.T. Miller, a kid with first-round pedigree would need to be included. The Canes would also need an NHL ready defenseman, since their blue line isn’t exactly one to write home about. Conor Allen comes to mind, as does John Moore. But neither, even when packaged with Miller, gets the job done here.

To acquire Nash, the Rangers would be looking at a package of Miller or McIlrath, Allen or Moore, and then a sweetener for Nash and probably a mid-late round pick. It’s a lot to pay for a kid having a career season on a contract year, but it’s the risk you take when you’re looking to fill holes for another Cup run. He’s only 25, so it’s not like he’s an aging vet. The odds that Carolina parts ways with him are slim, but hey, crazier things have happened.

Plus, would be cool to see if they distinguish the names on the ice with Riley and Rick.

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  • Are you crazy Dave? John Moore alone would be not enough return for just Riley Nash….We would have to get a 3rd and Nash for Moore. Every single day you add to me ignoring your posts bro…Get with the program here

  • Giving up too damn much, for little return. Also, you failed to mention that he would be a free agent (I’m assuming restricted, right??). If he is an UFA, then try to sign him after the season, and keep our kids.

    I’m not ready to give up on JT just yet, and you want to ship him along with McIrath, or Moore, no way Jose!!

  • There is nothing wrong with Moore as a 5th or 6th defenseman plus he is still young. He will get beter as time goes on. He is playing to a system that Ulfie and AV have that he adheres to. Moore has a the potential to be a 40 + points a season type defenseman. He has had to babysit Del Zotto and this year with injuries playing with the 7th or 8th D man instead of Klein. Where are your analytic’s on that? Yeah thought so.

  • Let’s see you had a love affair with Del Zotto, pahlease…but players you under valued…Dale Weise, how about McIlrath, or in this post JT Miller and Conor Allen. How about Haggerty this year.
    I am just glad you are not the GM. My thoughts of your evaluation is you only like skilled (scoring) players but there are other skill sets in this game.
    Brings me to Dubinsky as another player you undervalued

    • Do you not read? I’ve spent a good amount of space lately about how Allen should still be with the team, and how Miller should be moved to wing and given a shot there to simplify the game for the kid.

      This is all on the FRONT PAGE. Until you begin reading, I’m going to ignore you.

  • I didn’t care for this post either. But his guy (Dave) is usually on it. It’s all opinion and its sport for crying out loud. It’s not like it’s real life. The last time I posted some clown started name calling after I suggested the Rangers consider selling high on Zucc. That was well before the Rangers laid that egg on Sunday. Agree w/ RFIB, convincing win needed, Nation none too pleased.

    What I don’t agree with in the post is a) the idea of putting Hayes in the minors and b) that we’d trade for a forward. If anything, a stouter D would be just what this already fairly deep O needs.

    • Nash would address the 3C hole while Hayes works on adjusting to the pro game. He’s been solid, but even McDonagh needed time in the AHL. It’s not a slight against the kid at all.

      • I think Hayes’ size is a big need on this team. Not saying a little AHL stint would hurt the kid but I’d keep him and send Duclair back to the QMJ before sending Hayes down. I’m sure Hayes could play on the wing as he’s accustomed to. I also think if what you say is accurate then that’s a lot to give up for a 3rd center. Moore needs to hold that 4th line together. If there was going to be a trade for the Rangers it should be for a defenseman. The depth guys haven’t gotten it done. The few regulars still playing haven’t helped anything but those two have been disappointing. I would have gone after Sekera. Even as a 7th D when everyone returns he’s better than both Kostka & Hunwick. Without looking at Sekera’s salary of course. If he’s making too much as a 7th D then sit John Moore or let him work for his spot back. Sekera adds some mean to the back end. The games we’ve lost
        (Edmonton aside) have been on the defense.

  • I think we should have tried for Sergie Gonchar from Dallas, who just went to Montreal. He would have helped the D

  • I dunno, man; many trades don’t turn out to be as big as we think they would/should be. I’ll even bet a beer that Riley Nash would be available for less than that. Carolina can ask for whatever it wants, but what other GMs are actually willing to give up is a different story.

    Also, given the state of their Franchise, I think we can safely determine that Carolina isn’t exactly good at this whole hockey thing, at least not since ’06.

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