The headline of the 2012 offseason outside of the new CBA will be eventual trade of Rick Nash. Nash has been on the block since the trade deadline. This offseason teams will line up to give away prospects, draft picks, and good young players to acquire Nash. However is Nash worth the high return Columbus will receive in any deal?
First let me say this, I believe that Nash is a great player in this league. However I don't consider him to be a top 10 player in the NHL talent barely top 25 (see top 100 list blog). The former first overall pick has a great mix of size, speed, and skill. At 6'4 216 lbs Nash has the ideal characteristics of a top flight NHL power forward. With that being said Nash's career high in points was in 08-09 with 79 points. Also Nash has only led his team to one playoff appearance in 9 seasons and 0 playoff wins. Sure great teams were not built around Nash, but as a top player he is supposed to carry the team. Out of the 9 seasons Nash was in Columbus they only came close to the playoffs two or three times.
Another red flag teams have to watch out for is that Nash has 6 years at a 7.8 million dollar cap hit. Nash is the 5th highest paid player in the NHL (Staal, Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin). Perhaps with the new CBA the team who acquires Nash might have an out.
The Flyers, Bruins, Hurricanes, Rangers, Sharks, and Leafs are the rumored front runners for Nash at this point. Lets look at it from the view of the Leafs, it would likely cost them Schenn, top prospect, and probably 5th overall pick. A potential Sharks deal could be Niemi, Pavelski, and a first round pick. That is a lot to give up for a player who averages 60 points a season for his career. At the deadline the Jackets wanted the Rangers to give up Dubinsky, Del Zotto, Stepan, and a 1st round pick. Columbus may come down on the demand for Nash, but not much with all the teams that will make an offer on Nash.
I made this point before around the deadline, but I'll make it again. Here are Nash's career numbers:
Here are Thomas Vanek's career numbers:
Vanek has played 7 seasons to Nash's 9. If you project Vanek's numbers out over 9 seasons he would equal Nash or even surpass his current numbers. Now I am not saying Nash and Vanek are the same player. However if you look at the numbers they have had a similar career. Would anyone give up what they would for Nash for Vanek? Vanek has never had great teams around him as well except for one season. A few other players with similar numbers to Nash drafted in the same season and played less games are Zach Parise and Loui Eriksson.
The point I am trying to make is that I believe the team that wins the Nash sweeps may regret it in the end. He is a great player however in the end I think Columbus will end up as big time winners in any deal and begin to turn things around.
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