February 28, 2012
Nash says he has Jackets' interests at heart
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
In continuing to look for a route out of Columbus, Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash is taking the high road.
First, he'll have to get himself out from under the bus where he found himself thanks to Columbus general manager Scott Howson.
After failing to find a deal he felt provided equal value for Nash before Monday's trade deadline, Howson revealed the Jackets captain had asked for a trade -- it wasn't initiated by the team.
This has become a battle for the hearts and minds of the Blue Jackets fans -- at least those who are left -- and Nash did a good job of trying to spin things back in his favour Tuesday after Howson went on the attack Monday.
"I was informed by management that there was a rebuild, a reshape, in the team," Nash told reporters Tuesday. "And I personally felt I could be a huge part of that toward bringing assets in. In my view, that was the best thing for the team, the organization, and personally for my career.
"I felt I could be a huge part of the rebuilding by bringing them assets."
So Nash -- who has submitted a list of teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause -- suggested this would be a win/win deal: The Blue Jackets could get the foundation they need for a relaunch and he could continue his career somewhere other than in last place.
The Nash story has been compelling -- and will continue to be. Entering the trade deadline, it had the potential of affecting the top Stanley Cup contenders. The Rangers had offered a first-round draft pick, winger Brandon Dubinsky, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, 2011 first-rounder J.T. Miller and 2010 second-round pick Christian Thomas for Nash, the New York Post's Larry Brooks reported.
The Post said the Jackets' counteroffer was Dubinsky and one of Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh and one of Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, former first-round pick Chris Kreider and a first-round pick.
Hey, it can't hurt to ask.
But that gives you an idea of what Howson thinks is fair value for Nash -- three roster players, a top prospect and a top pick.
We'll see if any of the teams rumoured to be on Nash's wish list -- thought to be the Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs -- would be willing to part with that much at the draft.
It's conceivable the price could even go up since teams will have more cap and roster flexibility.
The other question is whether Nash expands his list of potential landing spots.
And what happens if the Blue Jackets bring in a new coach and GM who extend the olive branch to Nash?
This story isn't going away; it's just on hold while they sort out who wins that Cup thing.
HEAR AND THERE: There was nothing more galvanizing at the trade deadline than the moves made by the Vancouver Canucks. Some media types seemed to think they had the best day, but at least two scouts disagreed. The Canucks picked up Sami Pahlsson from Columbus and sent centre Cody Hodgson and defenceman Alexander Sulzer to the Buffalo Sabres for hulking prospect Zack Kassian and defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani. "Hated the Canucks move," texted one. "Pahlsson can't skate anymore. He's not close to the same player he was ... and I'm not a Kassian fan. Hodgson has been real good for the Canucks lately." That scout thought Nashville did the best job. Another liked the Winnipeg Jets moving Johnny Oduya for second- and third-round picks and claiming defenceman Grant Clitsome off waivers ... The biggest concern in Chicago can't be the goaltending at this point. It has to be the status of captain Jonathan Toews who will miss his fifth consecutive game Wednesday night against the Leafs. "Upper body," and no timetable for his return. Not a good combination.