Skip to content

PHT’s Pressing Questions: Can Nash put the Rangers over the top?

Jan 10, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Rick Nash

Every day until the season starts we’ll explore an intriguing storyline for the upcoming year.

Last season, the New York Rangers fell just two wins short of playing in the Stanley Cup finals. They beat Ottawa and Washington in seven games, and lost to New Jersey in six. All in all, it was a good run.

But for all the good they did, they only scored more than three goals once in 20 games, and that was in the first game of the first round when they got four.

Thus, the blockbuster acquisition of Rick Nash from Columbus in July that sent Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first round draft pick to the Blue Jackets.

Nash, 28, was the NHL’s first overall pick in 2002. Since then, the big winger has scored 289 times in 674 games. Of all the players with fewer than 700 games played, only Alex Ovechkin has more career goals.

True, Nash comes with a big contract – six seasons remaining with a cap hit of $7.8 million. But guys with seven 30-goal seasons that are still in their 20s are somewhat hard to come by.

Following the conference final defeat to New Jersey, Rangers general manager Glen Sather was determined to improve his club’s offense.

“This changes the complexion of our team,” said Sather. “It’s not going to change the way we play, but his ability is – he’s a world-class player, and was very excited to come to New York. We were one of his chosen few right from the beginning.”

But will Nash buy in to the Rangers’ do-whatever-it-takes philosophy that saw them block the third most shots in the NHL last season?

“I have no worry in the world about that,” said Sather. “If you remember, if you look at the record that this guy’s had over his career, he’s got a tremendous record of being an excellent hockey player. He played in the Olympics, he was one of the better players on that team.

“[Rangers head coach John] Tortorella’s coached against him not only in the NHL but also at the Olympics, and knew very well what his style was, knew that he’d fit in well with us. Everyone in our organization was after this guy.”

Besides, blocking a lot of shots isn’t always a good sign. When you’re blocking shots, you don’t have the puck. The Minnesota Wild led the league in block shots last season; the Islanders were second. Puck possession, or lack thereof, was a major concern for Tortorella in the New Jersey series.

In Nash, the Rangers get a big body that can control the puck in the offensive zone.

Thursday morning, Nash was skating with center Brad Richards and winger Marian Gaborik. Safe to say, not many teams can put together a trio like that.

Also safe to say, Nash never had linemates like that in Columbus.

“I think the main thing was looking at the team,” Nash said in July, “looking at what they’ve done over the years. It’s something I’d love to be part of.

“I’d love to help them out.”

Latest Posts
  1. Where to next? Arcobello poised to test UFA market

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes

    He played with four different NHL teams last season.

  2. B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT

    Don Sweeney AP

    It’s not all about the Zac Rinaldo trade, although that certainly didn’t help.

  3. VandeVelde signs two-year extension with Flyers

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Chris VandeVelde Getty Images

    He establish himself with the team after years of work primarily in the AHL.

  4. Sharks agree to five-year deal with Brenden Dillon

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT

    Brenden Dillon Getty Images

    San Jose still has an opening on its blueline.

  5. Canucks hand Markstrom two-year, $3.1 mil deal

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    He’ll start the season as Vancouver’s backup goaltender.

  6. Riley Nash, Yannick Weber among those without qualifying offers

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT

    Yannick Weber Getty Images

    They are now set to become unrestricted free agents.

  7. Vancouver signs Linden Vey to one-year extension

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT

    Linden Vey Getty Images

    He’ll reportedly earn $1 million next season.

  8. Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated)

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators

    Toronto, Calgary and Pittsburgh are amongst the teams, which have reached out.

  9. Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. are also going in as builders.

  10. NHLPA reviewing Richards situation, determining course of action

    Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Also inside is information about the potential cap recapture situation the Kings might be stuck with.

  11. What’s next for Mike Richards and the Kings?

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    Processing Monday’s surprising termination.

  12. Sens’ Chiasson headed for arbitration

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    The 24-year-old’s three-year, $2.7 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday.

  13. Pricey Platoon? Stars reportedly sign Niemi for three years, $13.5M

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Antti Niemi, AP

    If accurate, that’s $10.4M between Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.

  14. Report: Blackhawks sign Rundblad to a two-year, $2 million extension

    Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Getty Images

    The 24-year-old was a pending restricted free agent.

  15. Report: Oduya is already pondering offers, won’t wait for Chicago

    Jun 29, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT

    Johnny Oduya AP

    He should draw plenty of free agent interest.

  16. Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers

    Jun 29, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT

    Cody Hodgson Buffalo

    Both players can be bought out on Tuesday, if they clear.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (2002)
  2. C. Talbot (1924)
  3. R. O'Reilly (1912)
  4. S. Gagner (1668)
  5. R. Lehner (1594)
  1. E. Etem (1526)
  2. M. Lucic (1498)
  3. M. Richards (1463)
  4. A. Niemi (1371)
  5. K. Letang (1361)