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Should Columbus trade Rick Nash?

Nov 11, 2011, 12:38 PM EDT

Rick Nash AP

In 2009, Rick Nash signed an eight-year, $62.4 million contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets. At the time, GM Scott Howson said “we are very happy that he will continue to call Columbus home for many years to come,” while adding, “this is an important and exciting day for our franchise and fans.”

That was two years ago.

Today, folks are asking if Nash should get the hell outta dodge. (Dodge being Columbus in this instance. Look, just go with it.)

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News has penned a column on why Nash would be best served moving out of Columbus.

Sometimes, asking to be moved is the right thing to do, for both the player and his employer. And I think we’ve arrived at that stage when it comes to the increasingly sad story of Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Nash hasn’t made any noise whatsoever about wanting out of Ohio and the Jackets are far from being mathematically eliminated from the 2012 playoffs – his team isn’t altogether bereft of talent. Indeed, I was one of the few people who thought Columbus could make the playoffs this season.

However, the hockey gods have all but extinguished those post-season dreams. Losing prized free agent signing James Wisniewski to an eight-game suspension at the start of the year was bad enough; losing prized trade acquisition Jeff Carter after five games to a fractured foot was worse; and the consistent struggles of starting goalie Steve Mason (whom as I joked on Twitter was in line to star in the next edition of the Saw horror movie franchise: Saw VIII, Let In VII) looks like the worst development of all.

First, the brass tacks: Nash has a no-movement clause through 2015. When that’s up, his no-trade clause kicks in (and goes until 2018.) So there’s that logistical hurdle to overcome.

Second, this isn’t a new line of thought. CBC’s Elliotte Friedman brought it up during Hockey Night in Canada. TSN’s NHL panel of Marc Crawford, Aaron Ward and Bob McKenzie discussed it. Lyle Richardson addressed it in his weekly rumor roundup.

Third…would Columbus even have the stones to pull this off? Not to belittle the offseason work of Howson and club president Mike Priest, but there was no major blowback from the Wisniewski and Carter acquisitions. They were bold moves, but relatively easy ones to make. Wiz only cost the team money (which was spun as a commitment to winning) and Carter only cost them a single roster player (Jakub Voracek).

When the season started poorly and losses mounted, Howson and Priest failed to make any bold, tough moves (unless you count bringing in Mark Letestu and Nikita Nikitin, which I don’t.) Howson still has a job, Scott Arniel still has a job and Steve Mason still isn’t being challenged for the No. 1 goaltending gig.

Addressing any of those issues would be considered a bold move. But trading the face of the franchise? That would be the boldest move of all.

Just doesn’t seem like Columbus is willing to make it.

  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 11, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Trade Nash to Minnesota for Nicklas Backstrom and some spare parts.

    Columbus gets out of Nash’s monster contract and fix their goaltending problems while cutting from Nash’s 6 years left down to the 2 or 3 Backstrom has left. Backstrom is an up grade in goal for Columbus while the Wild add another player who can score. Wild toss in an extra draft pick or two, nothing higher than a 3rd.

    If Wild could pull this off, they still have room to add Parise over the summer. Wild want him badly, he wants to play for the Wild. Zucker and Granlund join the Wild next year. Damn this will be a good team.

    Of course Backstrom has to waive his NTC

    • rca26 - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:24 PM

      Totally makes sense for a terrible team with a bleak outlook to invest in a 33 year old goalie with a bloated contract.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:23 PM

      Your a Moron if you think that trade is happening.
      First off, Backstrom would never waive his NTC to go to a bottom dweller. Just makes no sense.

      What could make sense, if Nash was looking to get out or they are looking to trade him would be Harding and a top prospect(not named Granlund) for Nash, IF Harding is willing to resign there. Harding has no leverage, and is cheap so he can be traded anywhere.

  2. hystoracle - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Why is that every time a team struggles the first option is to trade their best player? It is a good think media honks aren’t in charge of NHL teams. And the ones that used to be coaches or GMs tend to remind you why the are no longer coaches GMs when they open their mouths (ala Milbury).

    • cshearing - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      When you are struggling, you often need several things to turn it around. Getting several pieces via trade is nearly impossible without dealing the best player in the deal.

  3. bigbear42 - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    They shouldnt trade him, but IF they do, they should trade him to Nashville for a lot of those defense and goalie prospects they seem to always have so freaking many of

    • davebabychreturns - Nov 11, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      You know if Nashville could absorb the salary that might work out fantastically for both sides.

      Well, fantastically for Nashville and about as well for Columbus as one might expect when a team trades their best player for prospects.

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    The only way (well the most reasonable) reason to trade Slick Stick Rick is if Mr. Nash wants out of O-H…I-O. Outside of that, I don’t see the logic behind trading him. There aren’t many reasons for people to give up their hard earned money and go watch a CBJ game. You think trading your best player will help in the short and/or long term future? I highly doubt it. Unless the trade partner is throwing the house at ya then I wouldn’t even think of trading him.

  5. dbick - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Carter also cost them the #8 overall pick, which ended up being a pretty damn good player.

  6. chip56 - Nov 11, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    The answer is that I can’t see a team being willing to give the Blue Jackets back enough talent/picks for them to sell the move to their fans. I think they would need at least one blossoming young player, a legit prospect and two first round picks to make it happen.

  7. east96st - Nov 11, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    It’s pointless to trade him. They will only waste the draft picks they get in exchange. You could line up 10 future HOFers and a brain damaged chimp that can skate and they would draft the chimp.

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