May 27, 2012, 10:11 AM EDT
That time is now as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch writes, as GM Scott Howson will begin chatting with interested teams at the GM meetings on Wednesday. Portzline says if you’re eyeballing a date when a deal could happen, there are two big ones to keep in mind.
Howson will likely get his best offers on the night of the NHL draft’s first round, set for June 22 in Pittsburgh. It could happen the day before, as did the Jackets’ trade for Jeff Carter last year. But if the NHL draft passes with Nash still a Blue Jacket, the next target date arrives in the days after free agency opens on July 1.
As he notes, the Blue Jackets were busy around draft day last summer and the same might happen this year as well. As for the Blue Jackets and how they’re preparing for next season, Portzline notes coach Todd Richards conspicuously left out Nash when discussing next season. When you leave out Nash and you’re mentioning Jack Johnson, R.J. Umberger, Vinny Prospal, and Cam Atkinson it might be safe to assume the team is already moving on without Rick Nash in mind.
With teams like the Bruins perhaps in the hunt for Nash as well as past suitors like the Rangers and Sharks maybe looking to add a big piece to their rosters, it could be an ideal market for Howson to get the offer he’s dreaming of. He’d better hope so or else things could get really awkward.
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