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Rick Nash update: “NHL-ready forwards” are big part of asking price

Jul 14, 2012, 10:20 AM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

With the CBA talks taking a turn for the scary and Shane Doan‘s decision put off for even longer, it seems like a decent time to take a glance at the drawn-out divorce between Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The latest update in the hockey game show “What does GM Scott Howson want for Nash now?” comes from TSN. While it’s likely that a couple NHL-ready forwards won’t be enough to do the job alone, that’s currently Howson’s emphasis in talks.

“If we do complete a trade, we’re trading out a 30-to-40 goal scorer,” Howson said. “Defense is probably the strongest part of our team if we look at it today, so we’re looking to get some NHL forwards back first and foremost.”

Personally, I think Howson is only half-correct about the Blue Jackets’ strength. While they’ve invested an unusually large amount of money in their defense – compared to the value they’re expected to get – stopping other teams from scoring isn’t necessarily their strongest point. Instead, their blueliners are probably most adept at filling the net. Both Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski are known more for creating offense (sometimes for both sides) than stifling it.

Interestingly enough, Howson shot down rumors about the team’s interest in highly touted Los Angeles Kings backup Jonathan Bernier. He mentioned that there might have been some interest at the draft before they acquired Sergei Bobrovsky, but it stopped there.

Either way, many must wonder if the Blue Jackets will relent from what’s widely believed to be an excessive asking price for Nash. Howson isn’t budging on his quest to squeeze every asset he can imagine from the team’s soon-to-be-ex captain, though.

“I have a value that I’ve placed on Rick and that our whole organization has placed on Rick,” Howson said. “He’s an elite player, he’s been a tremendous ambassador for our franchise and our city and we’re very comfortable with the value we’ve placed on him and until we get that value, we’re going to keep working away at it.”

More than a few GMs probably feel like saying “good luck with that,” then.

  1. stakex - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Howson can act like hes going to stand firm on his demands all he wants, but hes the one over a barrel. He has a very unhappy player thats wants off the team, has seen a dramatic drop in production, and who cost a ton of cap space. He has no choice but to trade him before the start of the season. There is no realistic option for keeping Nash in Columbus. Once all the GMs interested in Nash finish laughing at these still laughable demands and the season is about to start…. he’ll panic and take the first decent offer he gets.

    Side Note: Nash may have scored 40 goals in the past, but hes averaged just 31 goals (64 points) over the last three seasons. So Howson can say Nash is a potential 40 goal / 80 point player all he wants… but the reality of it is he hasn’t been for a few years now. If a team was going to give him a new contract right now, do you think they would pay him like he was a 40 goal scorer? Of course not… so why should they trade for him like he is?

    • kg112686 - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      Yes they would pay him like a 40 goal scorer for a few reasons. A.) he is still only 28 years old (just turned 28) and B.) any elite players’ stats are going to suffer playing for Columbus and teams know that. In 2008-2009 (40 goal season) Columbus was a playoff team and Nash actually had some help around him. Since then they have been consistently one of the worst (if not the worst) offensive team in the league. Put Nash on a line with a Datsyuk or a Crosby or a Thornton (or any of the top 15 centers) and I guarantee he will be among the league leaders in goals year in and year out.

  2. steelturf76 - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I haven’t had the opportunity to personally watch Rick Nash much over the past few years so I’m not trying to hate or bash the Guy, but I think the asking price is ridiculous, any player can look great in a bad team because the talent surrounding him is that bad making him look that good. living in Pittsburgh I have seen this first hand with the Pirates, teams want our “best” players and when they do get the player that individual looks mediocre at best because the talent that he is now surrounded by is that much better than what he was surrounded by before being traded.

  3. danphipps01 - Jul 14, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Man, this illustrates just how stunningly naive Howson really is. He’s content to run with Sieve Mason and a guy who was so bad he couldn’t even wrestle the starting position out of Ilya freaking Bryzgalov? Ridiculous.

  4. jacketsfan7 - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Ok honestly? Come on howson if you offer too much it’s gonna backfire and no one is gonna wanna trade with you and get Nash , why don’t you just get maybe a guy like Jonathan Bernier and a 3rd round pick and call it “even”

  5. btrenary87 - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    overrated has only scored 70 or more pts 2 times in the nhl. They’re asking waaaay to much for him

  6. jnealsmanmeat - Jul 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Future SCA member?

  7. bleed4philly - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Why don’t they just trade him for prospects and picks, then they just sign Semin? He’s NHL ready and he won’t be anywhere near nash’s currently salary.

  8. babar61 - Jul 14, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Howson is a complete moron. I now believe nash isn’t going to be traded this off-season. Maybe at next years trade deadline or If a gm with more than half a brain replaces him. Every time I read anything howson says I truly feel bad for blue jacket fans

  9. guinsrule - Jul 14, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Seeing what GM Scott Howson believes Rick Nash’s trade value is, I have no choice but to believe Columbus is grossly underpaying Nash.

  10. mojosmagic - Jul 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Steve Nash has never been happy.

  11. bluessince1991 - Jul 14, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I don’t know if Nash would agree to it or if Columbus would trade in the division, but I’m surprised the Blues haven’t come up in the discussion yet. They have a stockpile of young forwards at the NHL level already with some good prospects in the minors. They have a new owner with decent cap room to make a splash in his first full year of ownership. Every year I read that they’re in on a big name free agent, a few years ago it was Kovalchuk or they’re thought to be in on trades like Carter last year. It’s time for them to get that sniper type winger that can score and Nash fits the bill pretty well. St Louis is poised to be a contender and most guys have always said how much they liked playing in St Louis so I wouldn’t think he would be too opposed to landing in the StL.

  12. bcisleman - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    Howson is NOT over a barrel. He has Nash under contract until 2018 and is under no obligation to move him. The few GMs on Nash’s list are dismissing Howson’s list as a negotiating tactic. They hope to pressure him into taking a bunch of spare parts for one of the NHL’s premier forwards. At the end of the day, Nash is the one who wants to be traded and the other teams need offense. Howson taking less than fair value for Nash would be the final straw for CBJ fans and likely for CBJ management. He knows he has to deliver with this move and isn’t going to be pressured into taking less than fair value.

    I suspect that Howson will accept a package centered around a top young forward or forward prospect like Kreider or Bennett.

    Also, I don’t believe that Howson was referring to Wiz or Johnson. He was referring to CBJ’s fine young D prospects like Nikitin, Moore and Murray among others.

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