How much are you willing to spend to keep Rick Nash around?

rick nash rangers sharks
Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Much like their dilemma with Michael Grabner, the Rangers have a tough choice to make this offseason (or sooner) with Rick Nash. The good news is that unlike Grabner, Nash will likely be looking at a pretty large pay cut from his current $7.8 million deal. The bad news is that he still isn’t going to be cheap.

Nash may not be worth his $7.8 million on the score sheet, but he’s still good for roughly 25 goals and 40-50 points over an 82 game season. That may not seem like much, but that’s still top-six production. Factor in that Nash is a force on the ice and draws attention, and he’s a valuable asset for any team.

One of the interesting stories to watch, and what will ultimately drive Nash’s next deal, is how he finishes the season. He’s currently at 9-8-17 in 33 games played, which averages out to about 20 goals and 40 points. However Nash is currently shooting 8.7%, which is well under his career 12.1% shooting rate. While not a guarantee, we could see Nash’s goal total go up as his shooting percentage corrects.

But as we watch his goal and point totals, we also need to watch his injury history. Nash has only played 75+ games in a season once since joining the Rangers. That was also his 42 goal season in New York, which is not a coincidence. A healthy Nash is a dominant Nash. He’s been healthy so far this year, so if that continues, we may see that SH% correction throughout the dog days of winter.

The same problems with re-signing Grabner –there are a bunch of RFAs that need to be re-signed– apply to Nash as well. There’s a strong possibility Nash can get $5 million on the open market with a strong finish. He’d be 34 years old, so it would likely be a short-term deal, but $5 million is still $5 million.

I’m actually fascinated by the Nash free agency watch. If he gets to 25 goals and 50 points this year, then I could see a team giving him at least $5 million over three years. The Rangers likely wouldn’t want to get into that high of a dollar amount for a soon-to-be 34 year old. Term is going to be everything for Nash (and Grabner).

As for me, Nash has more of a proven track record than Grabner, so I’m willing to go a little higher to keep him around. Two years at $4 million is ideal, but $4.5 million is probably more realistic. Funny enough, you add that $4.5 million to the $3.15 million projected for the Grabner deal, and you’re still under Nash’s current deal. Two players for less than the price of one. Assuming the RFAs can get done under the cap, it sounds like a win to me.

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  • With the cap going up, I’d bet both Nash and Grabner get offers higher/longer than projected and I hope its not from us. I can’t imagine thinking Stepan at $6.5MM for the next four was untenable but Nash age 34-36 is worth $5MM.

  • I’m fine with your numbers, in fact I would be willing to go a little higher and longer for Grabner — say $10m for 3 years. Grabner is a true specimen, with his workout regimen I can see him playing and contributing well beyond age 35 — plus no significant history of injury, unlike Nash. If the two of them could total out under $7.8m per and if the salary cap increases as has been suggested, I’m fine with those numbers. The one caveat though for both, no total NTCs — modified NTCs at most.

    • Couldn’t agree with you more on the full NTCs, or especially the dreaded NMC. NMCs need to be reserved for nothing short of young, proven elite talents. Even then, it still seems bizarre to me that a team would put itself in the position of never being able to send any player down, because shit happens, and all…but they exist and surely are used as bargaining chips and leverage for the player negotiations, so now they have to be dealt with. Full NTCs should be for the next tier down of perennial all-star level types, depending on age. Partial NTCs, I have far less of an issue with than these other categories.

  • Hard pass on Nash. No offer more than 1 year, $3.5 million. He’s maybe a .50/pts per game player now, at best. A proven underperformer in the playoffs too. He generates shots, but doesn’t shoot the puck hard enough to break glass anymore. If it’s his defense that needs to be replaced, it should cost less than $4 million for a 35-point defensive forward. Time for the Rangers to stop praising and rewarding this player’s consistent underachievement.

    • MC
      The reasoning behind your comments has convinced me …..if he doesnt give rangers big home town discount…..move on……
      You got me thinking I havent noticed that his shot has lost some mph’s but it makes sense , since he is constantly getting great looks with little results..
      Curious, what are your thoughts regarding grabner? [I love what he brings}

      • I’d let Grabner walk if he can’t bring a haul at the deadline or if he wants more than $3 million, and I’d trade Nash at the deadline to a team in injury-caused need of scoring.

        • MC
          Isnt grabner, a 25? most likely or more….goal scorer / excellent penalty killer worth 4 million a year?
          Who is going to make up his goal production at less money?
          What player , at less money is available?
          What kind of haul do you think we could get? He is due to be a free agent…..
          IMHO his production is worth at least 4 million considering todays NHL salaries…….
          Nash, as good as his all around game is , he does not score enough to be worth anywhere near that….

          • Rich-

            You make many valid points here but I fear you are missing the big picture.

            Is Grabner worth $4 million/per? Perhaps. But that is significant dollars for a guy who makes his living on the third line. Will any team pay that?

            Then the question is, how many years are you willing to commit at that salary to a guy who will turn 31 at the start of next season? Is that good cap management?

            As mentioned earlier, the Rangers will have to ante up for Miller and Hayes this summer, and to a lesser extent for Vesey and Skjei. That has to be factored in as well.

            I think Nash could bring back a haul in a trade. He’s by far the better player, despite the goal scoring totals. Grabner is an outstanding 3rd line player, no doubt. But at the end of the day, he is a third line player, and those guys have limited value within a contending team’s salary structure. A Grabner deal would have to be to a team flush with cap space who feels it is one player away.

            That being said, I would NOT trade either at the deadline and I doubt the Rangers will unless they are OVERWHELMED with an offer they can’t refuse and/or the Rangers unravel and fall out of realistic contention.

            I predict they will let both walk as FAs, and then use the savings to fill their voids by signing and/or trading for other needed assets.

          • 3E
            Grabner may play on the 3rd line but has top 6 talent/production……and even though Nash may be the better all around player , then Nash goes and Grabner slots into his spot with a savings of 2 or 3 million a year…….
            He is as valuable to us as phil kessel is to the pens…..Grabner will cost less than nash and score more goals the next 3 years…..most likely…..
            With the cap going up, IF we can unload stall ? or cut him? [I dont know cap prob’s] we should be able to afford grabner…..esp with miller, hayes NOT putting up ”contact rich” numbers……
            I rate rangers most important/long term forwards-
            3. zib
            5. grabner
            6. Zucc
            7. fast
            8. vesey
            9. hayes [ because Chytil and andersson are highly regarded centers making hayes less valuable to us]

    • Well, let’s try some facts. In the last 3 playoff years combined, Nash happens to be the teams leading scorer. Yes, he had a rough time in the final but had 83 shots in the Final but was very unlucky by shooting 3%.

      Please stop the playoff non performer narrative.

      If you want to look at non performers in the playoffs, look to the Hayes/Miller tandem. 3 goals in 83 playoff games.

      • Here is why Rick Nash is not a playoff performer: he has been NYR’s highest paid forward since he’s been here, and his performance has been commensurate with a third liner rather than a first liner in the playoffs.

        He has 77 career playoff games played—and has tallied 15 goals, 26 assists for a total of 41 points. That’s a robust .53 pts per game. Forwards who score 15 goals in 77 games aren’t worthy of being a team’s highest paid forwards. Just to show you further: Nash’s career ppg avg is .78 pts per game. That’s a drop off of .25 from his regular season performances, career-wise. He’s a disappointment in the playoffs, plain & simple, so go tell someone else to work on their narrative. Or better yet—work on yours Mr Dugan, because yours isn’t just cherrypicked—it’s so contrived that it’s practically gerrymandered.

        • Recency my friend. Last three years, leading playoff performer.

          Miller and Hayes…3 goals in 81 games.

          I rest my fucking case.

          Hes not a disappointment in the playoffs, in fact hes their leading scorer.

          • Who cares about recency? The guy’s numbers speak for themselves. You can’t arbitrarily pull some good streaks out of a career and say it’s proof of something. That’d be like saying he’s the best goalscorer on Thursday in the NHL.

            How many game 7 goals does Nash have? Why does he pile up points in series that the Rangers do not win? Why was he weak in the Cup Final against LA? Lastly, watch your freaking tone, tough guy. Save your curses for your imaginary friends.

  • Nothing official yet, but it looks like Mika is a “go” for tomorrow. What is surprising is that the lines in practice featured DD on the 4th line between Carey and Vesey, and Boo as an extra skater with Kampfer. Interesting.

  • I like both Nash and Grabner and obviously would like to see them back on the Rangers. But at what cost and term? In addition to those two, the Rangers have RFAs to deal with in Vesey and Boo (minimal raises I would assume), as well as Miller, Hayes and Skjei, who will all likely get a pretty nice bump. So what will those guys cost to re-sign? What will it cost to fill the void left by the possible departures of Nash and Grabner? And what can they command on the open market and should the Rangers go there.

    Losing one or both makes the Rangers weaker, no question. But the realities of the Cap might make them expendable regardless.

    • 3E
      Despite his skills and my ‘fading’ hopes that hayes turn into” Joe Thornton ”
      I think I would rather resign grabner than hayes if it comes down to that….
      I can see grabner averaging 25 the next 3 years while I dont see hayes doing that.
      DD over neives??? What do you think?

  • I love Nash. While he is not the elite player many thought he would be, he is a very, very solid player and a class act.

    In the Road to the Winter Classic show, I found it interesting hearing him interviewed about living in NYC with his family versus where he grew up and his time in Columbus.

    Nash is not a big city guy. He is a humble, small market guy who enjoys family time and playing hockey, plain and simple.

    I would love to see the Rangers lock him up for 3 years at 4 – 4.5 mil and have him retire a Ranger, which is something I could see him doing. After that he could move anywhere he wants to raise his family. But I could also see him going to a smaller market team where he would be ok with settling back down after retirement.

    • OK look, you all know I’m not a Nash guy so you can imagine where this is going. His playoff numbers speak for themselves, I’m not going over them again. Randy, it’s very nice to know he’s a solid player and a class act. And humble. That’s not news; it seems to me that there are a lot of players like that in the NHL. I’m sure he’s a wonderful father. The problem is he’s being paid like a top player, and he’s what, 35 years old. He’s having what I would call a Nash year. 9 goals, I think one is an empty-netter and one is the one the other night that went off his sweater against I think Dallas? OK, fine. The game-winner against LA was a great goal, and he had a great game that night. Cool.

      I don’t watch all the games; for whatever reason, here in western NY the MSG people seem to think we want to watch 60 Sabres games every year (yikes), so I have to rely on NBCSN. Anyway. All I have to go by is what I see when I watch, and numbers. None of us has any reason to think he’s going to all of a sudden light up the scoreboard come April. And for better or worse, in New York, what we’ll remember is what happens in the playoffs. No one really cares about hockey or basketball games in November, football games in September, or baseball games in April. Ask Reggie Jackson, Eli Manning or Walt Frazier.

      If Nash is one of those guys who that kind of stuff doesn’t mean that much to, that’s fine. It doesn’t make him a bad person. But I’m sorry he’s just not a top player, an $8 million player. I would offer him $4 per year for 3 years, no more. If he wants to go and play in Winnipeg, or Arizona, so be it. I don’t have access, the inclination, nor the time to study all of the players’ salaries or their cap hits or what they should do with the extra $4 mil.; I’ll leave that to all of you to analyze. Rosters turn over every summer; this should be one of the moves the Rangers make this summer. I’m not going to curse at anybody either; Just MHO.

      Regards- orange

  • Marleau at 37 coming off a 27 goal 49 point season got 3 years at $6.25 per year.

    Nash is getting at least 5 million a year wherever he goes.

  • I wouldn’t give him a chance to snub the team. Move him at the trade deadline for assets

    He doesn’t have the pop plays well by himself and we have had a hard time finding him linemates that play to his style.

    Reminds me of Carmelo Anthony. At this point he is a complimentary player and not someone you build a team around.

    • If Nash is not adequately replaced, we will be a far, far worse team without him. You are underestimating what he brings to the table. That being said, the decision to move him or not at the deadline, or re-sign him or not next summer, will be based in the former case on the Rangers position in the standings and what assets are offered, and in the latter case on cap space and the desire of the player to give the Rangers a hometown discount to stay in a city and on a team he loves.

      • I think anyone can replace what he brings if you have 7m+ to spend on a player.

        What’s making me chuckle is they said the same thing when we traded mike garntner for Glenn Anderson.

        And Tony Amonte and Matt Oates for Brian Noonan and wait for it……

        Stephane Matteau

        That trade netted a cup.

        Plus I think given the chance, the kids we have would step into that void and perform.

        • Good points…and fair. Except one thing. You mentioned trades where the players in question were in fact adequately replaced. If you trade Nash for future assets, or let hm walk at season’s end, you may set up a brighter future. And that’s fine. But the team in the here and now will be worse unless adequately replaced.

        • The flaw in your comparison is that the 1994 team had a Cup worthy core that the trades maximized, where players sent out were not grizzled players to play through the grind of the playoffs, as were the players coming in via those trades.

          On today’s Ranger team, Nash IS the core of the whatever Cup worthy players they have. You trade Nash and who are you relying on to score goals, play on the PP, and play on the PK?

          The chances of bringing back NHL players for Nash in trade is slim. You’re probably getting high picks for him, which won’t help the Rangers this year.

          If you trade Nash and/or Grabner this year, then the Rangers are basically tanking this year, not looking to make a Cup run.

          • What do you think the chances are of winning a cup with this crew , this year ?

          • That’s different. I agree with you, this team isn’t winning anything.

            But you’re confusing with what I think and what the Rangers think. Are they selling? No way. The only way they sell is if they’re the 2-12 NY football Giants. And they are not that.

            So any time the Rangers have a chance to make the playoffs then they will be buyers, not sellers. So any deal they make will be to try and make the team better this year. Picks wont help them this year.

            There’s a very simple reason why the Rangers never sell to make the playoffs: They make a ton of money in the playoffs. All revenues and no player salaries.

          • Again….bang on corrrect.

            However, what we saw last year at the deadline is that perhaps, Gorton is being more prudent in terms of “going for it” with this group than his predecessor was. He didn’t open the vault for Shatty last year, opting instead for the more reasonable deal for Smith.

            I agree, Rangers likely won’t sell at the deadline unless they repeat October, which I doubt will happen. But will they be “all in”? TBD.

          • I think they will definitely be more “cautious”, yes. Maybe not be so quick to make a deal for the sake of making a deal or wasting current and future assets.

            I think that’s why they haven’t made a deal now for a center. They are not buckling under just for the sake of making a trade.

            There is the difference between now and the past.

          • Well, the question you pose is to Richter, so his response is more relevant here, but allow me to interject.

            I would say probably not great. This is a very flawed team. But so are probably 27 of the 31 teams. Could this team make a deep run? Possibly. Can injuries occur to some of the prohibitive favorites? Possibly. Could the Rangers make some roster upgrades, either through trades or promotions from the minors? Possibly.

            Have we seen the roster at its best thus far? I would say no. McDonagh was hurt and out. Mika was out. Smith has been a disappointment but seems to be improving. It is reasonable to assume that all of them can have big second halves of the season. More than reasonable. So what then? And what if Kreider, Miller, Buch, and Hayes find their next gear?

            Obviously, a bunch of iffs. But the team owes it to themselves and to the fans to see where this is all heading before deciding to play for the future and throw away the season.

          • True. Not to mention, even when they have abysmal efforts (or real tough officiating), they fight to the end, and eke out points. Leaves room for optimism for the second half and that deep playoff run.

  • Gotta Keep Grabner First and foremost..A Scoring Speedster is Playoff deadly. As for Nash MAX 6 Million per year.. Or let him go and Get a Younger Big Boy up front. Minimal 6 ft 3.. And Also need a Hugh Defenseman to clear the Net out in front of Henrik, 6’4 plus.. You know Playoffs Hockey is a Completely different Beast. They’ll be crashing the net like crazy because other teams know nobody will stop them from crashing the net in the playoffs. It’s the same thing every year. It’s how we get eliminated.

    • Actually it’s not. We get eliminated because our supposed “stars” didn’t produce. I can’t think of one series in recent memory where the main reason (or even the secondary reason) we were eliminated was because we were out-physicalled. It was because the other team’s skill guys were better than ours. Plain and simple.

      You are applying 20th century hockey thinking to 21st century hockey reality, where it doesn’t apply as it once did.

  • Nash or Grabs will not sign one year deals ,just not going to happen . Offer Nash and Grabs contracts prior to the trade dead line for what you are willing to pay them , if they sign extensions all well and good ,if not you have to get what you can for each of them or lose them for nothing . You just can’t lose them to FA for nothing just can’t happen. So see what they want now or else you need to trade them at the dead line .Nash 4 yrs @4 or 4.5 or 3 @ 5M Grabs 3@ 3.5 or 4@ 3M if they sign good not need to sell high while we can , don’t think we can win 4 rounds and the Cup as we are now set up .

    • I agree there is no way either of them will sign one year deals. Not a chance.

      Where I disagree is the notion that you can’t let a guy walk as a FA. Of course you can. Didn’t the Caps just do that with Shatty? It happens all the time. Besides, it’s a false argument. If you let a guy with a big contract go to the FA, you aren’t losing him for nothing. You are gaining valuable cap space, so that’s not nothing.

      There is no right answer here. It all depends on where the Rangers are in the standings at that point, what is their assessment of their chances to make a deep playoff run, balanced with what the return would be on a potential trade. And also looking ahead and assessing how you would replace Nash and Grabner on next year’s team via FA.

      What if the return for either isn’t what the Rangers want? If that’s the case, they would not and should not deal.

  • The least amount they can pay him , 3-4 million 2-3 year deal … He got enough from us , give a bit back …. Great two side of the puck player , 7.5 was a bit much for the return we’ve seen so far

  • I was thinking about this a few nights ago. Nash creates. Many of the moments when we think he should have scored are usually in situations where there was hardly anything there in the first place. In other words there really wasn’t a scoring chance but Nash worked to get an almost opportunity with very little space. So it looks like he failed but the pressure on the puck makes other teams adjust. So Nash, do you want to win a cup at 4.5 mil for 3 years in NYC.

    I think Grabber takes his new shiny stats and gets as much money as he can. Unless he realizes that the Rangers system puts him in the best situation to keep scoring. Grabs 3.25 mil for 3 years?

    The Rangers are really setup for NEXT year. They may surprise us this year but they are at least 2 players away from being a complete team. Next year, another youngster or two make the team and we have a new 2nd line center and a defensemen to take Stall Holdens slots. This team can win it all.

  • If he finally has gotten back some value then NOW IS THE TIME TO TRADE HIM!! IF WE COULD SWINDLE A 1ST RD PICK FROM SOMEONE i WOULD DRIVE HIM MYSELF IF NEED BE! lets not shoot the hell out of the cap again for him how about someone younger and tougher THAT CAN SCORE?

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