Irresponsible Rumormongering

Exploring Nashville’s “all-in” stance on Rick Nash

rick nash
Photo: Jim McIsaac/Newsday

As the trade deadline approaches, the suitors for Rick Nash are going to grow. While that list grows, one team seems to be far ahead in their quest, and that is the Nashville Predators, at least according to Elliotte Friedman. The Preds are “all-in” on Nash, but as Friedman points out, they will need to be willing to part with even more young pieces –they’ve already dealt Sam Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and a 2nd for Kyle Turris– to facilitate such a trade. They’ve benefited from strong drafts and development, so there is still a match here.

Nash is still a force on the ice, no matter what his detractors say. He consistently drives scoring opportunities and shot attempts on a team that otherwise can’t seem to generate anything consistently on offense. He plays in all three situations, and is one of the top penalty killing forwards out there. He’s a heady player who drives to the net and puts himself in positions to score. The two-way aspect of his game is just gravy at this point. He’s going to get a solid haul, especially if the Rangers retain salary (they will).

The cost for Nash will likely be high, especially if there is a bidding war. The Rangers have some solid names to sell, and Nash is close to the top of the list. His name, pedigree, and overall talent likely fetch the Rangers a top prospect and a top pick. However unlike Ryan McDonagh or Mats Zuccarello, who have another year on their deals, Nash’s pending free agency likely stop him from fetching a quality youngster who is either NHL ready or close to it. Kevin Fiala isn’t happening.

The cost for Nash likely begins with one of Eeli Tolvanen or Dante Fabbro. Both are former first round picks (2017 and 2016, respectively), and both are viewed highly. Tolvanen is tearing up the KHL, with a line of 17-17-34 in 47 games as an 18 year old (the KHL is notorious for senioritis, where vets get the playing time. Alain Vigneault would do well there). Tolvanen plays the off-wing, as a left on the right side. Fabbro is in his sophomore year at BU and is scoring at close to a point-per-game (8-16-24 in 28 games) as a right handed defenseman.

Prospects like Tolvanen and Fabbro are the starting point, as well. It makes you wonder if the cost will get to one of them and a first round pick. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. If the Rangers can land that kind of deal, then it’s a homerun for Jeff Gorton. Even if it’s one of them and a second rounder, it’s still a homerun.

When looking at some of the lower tier prospects, Emil Pettersson is probably the guy that people flock to. He’s putting up solid numbers with the Milwaukee Admirals in his first North American season. But he’s not a high ceiling guy like Tovlanen or Fabbro. Trevor Murphy is also someone intriguing and probably blocked by the 900 NHL ready defensemen the Preds have. But if the Blueshirts decide to go with the lower tier prospects, then oodles of draft picks will likely be included. At least a first and a third, possibly a second.

But in the end, I think the conversation begins and ends with one of Tolvanen or Fabbro. If Nashville parts with one, then there is a deal to be made here. I’d actually be pretty pumped with one of them and a second rounder, but I really do think the bidding gets it up to a first rounder. With Nashville entrenched in all-in mode, it’s not just about getting Nash. It’s about keeping him away from someone like Winnipeg as well. There is a deal to be made here. Nash would certainly make them the favorites –even more than they already are– in the West.

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  • Tolvanen and Fabbro are musts, or at least one of them, similar to TB giving up Sergy. One of those, a first, and something else since the first will be at the end of the round.

    Gorton must make teams pay with quality.

    • Tony

      They say that the Sergy kid is a heck of a d-man, agree with you, squeeze as much as we can from Tampa if they are serious. We lived in Texas for 10 years when I was working, and they never forgot the Alamo, so we should never forget the MSL deal. Isn’t revenge sweet!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Correct bro. But even forgetting the MSL deal, they want McD, and they are getting TWO playoffs out of him, then it’s Sergy and a first.

        I expect things to percolate next week.

    • totally agree on squeezing Tampa. I have watched their last few games. They are not playing well. They need to do something. Boston and Toronto are also both playing good hockey. Tampa may need McDonaugh and they also may need to keep him away from Boston or Toronto. let the bidding war begin

  • Either Fabbro or Tolvanen, plus a pick. Gorton needs to feed the flames to get the price we should for him. And l love the line on AV and the KHL

  • Dave

    “(the KHL is notorious for senioritis, where vets get the playing time. Alain Vigneault would do well there)”

    What a great line, and unfortunately true!!!

    Of the players mentioned, Tolvanen is the guy to try and demand we get in return, along with a #1. They are in a win now mode, if they really want to win, that’s the price they have to pay. He is currently playing against men, while
    Dante Fabbro is playing at the college level, and the competition isn’t the same.
    My only question here is, is this the kid who went to Russia because of the way Ruff treated? I don’t believe that to be the case, but you read so many names, I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

    Isn’t it refreshing to be in the driver’s seat for a change? If everything goes down as planned, I could see us in the PO’s next season, and be a serious contender in a very short period of time!!!!!!!!!

    • Tolvanen is not that guy—that’s Valeri Nichuskin who left Dallas, Ruff, and the NHL for greener KHL pastures.

    • I completely agree with you that Tolvanen should be the primary target with NASHville. He played well in the past two WJC-U20 tournaments (a line of 3-9-12 in 11 games) and he started his Olympic tournament with a goal and three assists against Germany yesterday. As Dave mentioned, he’s tearing up the KHL this year as well.

      Fabbro played at a lower level in juniors and struggled a bit as a freshman last season. He has made the adjustment to his game and is playing well this season. I think he is further away from the NHL than Tolvanen is. He also can become a free agent in 2.5 years (August 2020), so he may end up following the path to the Rangers as Hayes and Vesey did.

      • Tolvanen hasn’t scored a goal in the KHL since November 29th. Yes, he’s missed big chunks due to WJC, ASG and Olympics, but he’s been in chateau bow wow for some time. His WJC as an 18 yr old was nothing special. Germany would have a hard time winning in the Allan Cup.

        Fabbro just reminds me of Kevin Klein as a ceiling. He looked great in the BCHL, but the level of the league ain’t all that. It ain’t bad if you get 12 years of that, but not for Nash.

    • Bit of an organizational logjam ahead of him, with Shattenkirk, Pionk, DeAngelo already up the depth chart. And of course, all-World defenseman Steven Kampfer will block any RD from the roster while Vigneault is coach.

      • RH Defensmen are like Starting Pitching: its never enough. The kid is 19 so I don’t see him in the picture (full time) for at least another 3 years. Though not NHL ready now, this would also give JG a little more freedom in what he gets back in the McD trade (ie he can trade with Toronto with the key component being a young forward). It really depends whether Tampa is willing to depart with Sergachev. If by some chance we get both these defensemen and still find a way to add offense in the draft and offseason then I’d be over the moon. I really can’t wait to see the pool of assets we get back for Nash, Grabner and McD. Rangers fans have never had a Spring Christmas to celebrate about. AV staying may dampen that party though!

  • I like all the excitement but don’t forget we all expected to get 1st round draft pick for Talbot.. but reality was somewhat different.

    So before we start cheering and celebrating I would rather wait and be cautiously optimistic and hopeful :)))

    • Monty

      Like you, I’ll withhold opinion until the Fat Lady sings!! We can put together a wish list, but the man, JG, has to deliver on this season’s selloff………

    • Some of us thought we could get a 1st rounder for Talbot and maybe we could have. But there were also people like Dave who cautioned against expecting that much for a goalie.

      To some teams, Nash may seem to be the difference between winning the Cup this year and not winning it – and that is worth a lot. I think the St. Louis deal should serve as a guide. Yes, MSL was a HOFer and Nash is a close, but not quite HOFer. OTOH, MSL was older and clearly further on the path of decline than Nash.

      • Those were the same fans who thought Hayes would get traded first and also thought Stepan would go on the market as a “1c”.

        There’s lol jokes all around

        • Stepan plays 1C for the Yotes. Obviously played 1C for us. He would have been a 1C on other teams as well. What probably hurt the Rangers more than anything was how obvious it was that he was to be traded.

  • Every team is “all in” until they have to pull the trigger. Nashville seems to be a good fit, but so does a team like the Pittsburgh. Would you take Jake Guentzel and a 2nd rounder? I sure would.

    • I’d be very surprised if Gorton dealt Nash to a team within the division, let alone a divisional rival who’s a 2-time defending champion. And I’d be bitterly disappointed due to my fervent hatred of the Penguins.

      • I don’t understand this train of thought. Why not trade Nash to the Penguins if they offer the better deal?

        1: The Rangers will be making the Pens pay in the next several years for making this trade.
        2: Nash is a free agent after the season. While it is true they get to negotiate exclusively with Nash until free agency, that doesn’t mean they’ll re-sign him.
        3: If the Rangers trade Nash, it means they have little to no expectations to make the playoffs or make it out of the first round.
        4: If the Rangers trade him to Nashville, that doesn’t mean he won’t sign with Pittsburgh after the season.

        Get the best deal you can in my opinion.

    • He plays with Sid because of that I would stay away. Inflated numbers because of Sid and the Rangers don’t have a Sid or Geno.

    • If we get G from Pitt we need to get either Sid or Gino for him to be of any use to us . He does nothing when he plays with any one else .same goes for Seary ,they can only score with Sid or Gino as their C .We need to get some one who makes whom ever they play with better. How about Kane from Chicago ,they would love to get rid of his Cap hit.

  • I keep having this dream where the Rangers have 3 or 4 1st round picks this year …. good dream, real good dream.

  • Whatever anybody is offering – it is not enough for Nash.

    Look at what we paid for MSL, for Eric Staal…what Minn paid for Hanzal….even the haul the Avs got for Duchene

    This should be an auction that goes down to the last tick of the clock on deadline day…

    • This is my big fear—that Nash & McDonagh aren’t going to be traded for enough returning assets. I’d ask for Fiala, Tolvanen, and a 1st rounder for Nash and work from there. I get the sense that Gorton needs to be more dismissive of what’s come his way so far, particularly with Tampa & Boston regarding McDonagh. Experienced first-pairing dmen with a history of logging huge minutes and raising their game in the playoffs aren’t traded midseason that often. To me McDonagh is the jewel of this selloff and should be easily worth more than the Yandle package. Trading him for less than he’s worth will be a devastating mistake. I wish I had confidence in this front office, but as long as Sather is around, my confidence will not be.

      • Amen. I worry that the front office seems to be all-in on everything they do. I fear that today that means trading too many players – and by too many, I mean some players they do not get fair value for.

        I would like to see the Rangers sign McDonagh to a four year $32M extension. I think that would be a good result. Sure, it is fine to trade him BUT the trade should be better for the Rangers than the deal I proposed. And that means getting a lot in return. You hardly want two young players who would develop into Keith Yandle and Jesper Fast respectively.

  • On the McDonagh front particularly, I do not think the issue of players being blocked by Pionk and DeAngelo should be relevant. McD is a star. The kind of talent you want in return is the kind of player who will push guys like Pionk and DeAngelo aside. The Rangers don’t need a lot of decent players. They need players like Lundqvist, Nash, McDonagh as part of the mix. Maybe Chityl and Shesterkin belong in this class, but they need more than just the three they’ve had and that’s where they need to be looking.

    Of course, stars do age out of the group and I am not recommending hanging on to Nash.

  • The Rangers have a history under Sather/Gorton of paying big assets to acquire a veteran to help, but not the reverse. No wonder why teams like trading with us. Seems like we need a new GM. We will see. For sure Nash & Grabner would really help other teams get to the finals.

  • While Nash is valuable, the other teams are only getting a rental. Therefore, you have to temper your expectations a bit accounting for that fact. Nashville might be a team in the position to overspend for Nash. That would be pretty awesome.

    Right now, McDonough’s trade value is probably at the highest it will ever be. They don’t have to deal him at the deadline, they can even deal him in the off season. But, the closer he gets to being a UFA, the more his trade value will diminish.

    They should try to turn a McDonough trade into one where they recoup a highly skilled young player or two, and a first round pick and more. If the market isn’t as strong as we envision then keep him, because a player of his skill and character is hard to come by.

    • Agree to a certain extent my friend.

      But you put Nash on the Preds with what they already have and I think that they are favored to win the Cup.

      Likewise, McD on Toronto, Boston or TB.

    • A player who has missed 2 weeks due to care/back issues plus had multiple maintenance days forvsaid issues is at his highest trade value?

      If hockey had Hindu constructs, AV would be the destroyer of trade value.

  • My nightmare scenario…

    *phone rings*

    Gorton, answering: “Papi’s Pizza, home of the Big Slice and Super Sausage Sundays! How may I help you?”
    Nashville GM David Poile: “Um…”
    Gorton: “Just messin’ with ya, Davey. Secretary told me it was you on line one. What’s crackin’? You still wearing that silly eye patch thing-a-ma-bobber?”
    Poile: “That was like four years ago, Jeff. Still not funny. Thanks for still asking every time you talk to me, though. I was actually calling about Rick. We are highly interested.”
    Gorton: “Yeah bud, you and every other team not on his no-trade list! Whatchya’ got for me?”
    Poile: “Well, for starters, we were thinking about a 2nd round pick, then…”
    Gorton: “Done”.
    Poile: “Um…what?”
    Gorton: “Doneski, Davey-Boy. What, your phone ear get hit by the puck back in 2014, too?”
    Poile: *hesitant pause* “Okay, but…”
    Gorton: “Fine, fine. I’ll throw in that bum Buchnevich, too. He’s hurt. AGAIN. Needs more grit and sandpaper, but maybe you can turn him into something solid, like a Cody McLeod type. Good enough?”
    Poile: “Uh, yeah. Yeah, I’d say so.”
    Gorton: “You’re a tough egg to crack, DP. You stay away from those loose pucks now, ya hear! Talk to you later, good buddy.”


    • My nightmare scenario…

      AV is back next year…

      Maybe E3 and Spozo will counsel me if that happens because I will need major help.

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