Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Rick Nash Trade

After months of trade speculation, the Columbus Blue Jackets have traded Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a 1st round draft pick. The word on the street throughout this spectacle was that General Manager Scott Howson's asking price for Nash was far too high, and now that the deal is done, most are saying that the Jackets did not get nearly enough in return. This coming after Columbus reportedly declined a very substantial offer from Detroit, because they did not want to trade their franchise player inside the division. To be fair to Howson, being given such a limited list of teams he was willing to play for did significantly diminish the ability of the Blue Jackets to get the best deal possible.

If the rumours are correct and San Jose dropped out of the Nash sweepstakes because they would not part with Logan Couture, that could cost them their last shot at a championship in the Thornton/Marleau window. The best thing about Couture is not necessarily his production, but more so being locked in to a contract favourable to the franchise. Couture's contract might be more valuable than Couture's talent (which sounds like a ridiculous thing to say). Nash is most certainly a better player, some would argue substantially better. He's 28 years old and has scored at least 30 goals 7 of the last 8 seasons. Isn't the conventional wisdom that whichever team acquires the best player wins the trade more often than not? How then was Logan Couture a roadblock to a Nash trade? Regardless of the logic, New York Rangers fans have to be very happy those other deals died.

The future does not look bright in Columbus. They're going to suck for a few more years at the very least. If I were taking bets on the remaining length of Scott Howson's employment as General Manager, the over/under would be 6 months. We'll see if this deal ultimately ends up being a franchise killer, as this step backwards could very well have fatal consequences. That being said, the Nash contract is not exactly favourable. He's no bargain at nearly $8M per season. If this was indeed the best deal available, then clearly the size of the contract diminished his market value, a market value already diminished by a restricted list of destinations. This was a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for the doomed Howson.

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