Nash shipped to Rangers

Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash celebrates a goal against the Flames in Calgary, Alta., Dec. 1,...

Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash celebrates a goal against the Flames in Calgary, Alta., Dec. 1, 2011. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

The asking price was supposedly a kings ransom for Rick Nash.

All Scott Howson got in the end was a mere pittance.

The Columbus Blue Jackets GM stopped the saga with the franchise player by sending the disgruntled Nash to the New York Rangers Monday for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.

While Jackets fans were hopeful the Rangers would send top players like Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider or Michael Del Zotto to Columbus, there was nothing of the sort when the dust settled and Nash approved the deal to Broadway.

It took a long time, I will tell you that much, Rangers GM Glen Sather said on a conference call Monday night. Were happy to have a five-time all-star on our team and a 40-goal scorer. Hes only 28 years old.

Hes one of the better goal scorers in the NHL and hes going to help us immensely. These things take a long time to get negotiated. They take a long time for the team that is trading a player like this. Im sure it was very difficult for (Howson) to make the decision to trade him as it was for us to trade the players that we traded. I think its a fair trade for both sides.

Its no wonder Sather feels that way he got the best player. No, Nash doesnt have a whole lot of playoff experience after spending his career with the Jackets, but hes consistently been one of the NHLs top scorers.

The Jackets would have liked more of a return, but Howsons hands were tied. Nash had a limited list of teams where he would accept a trade and there were no Canadian squads included.

The Senators and Maple Leafs both made a pitch for Nash. Ottawa offered a package that included winger Nick Foligno, goaltender Robin Lehner and top prospect Mika Zibanejad, but Nash refused to be dealt to the Senators.

Howson, who eventually acquired Foligno from Ottawa for defenceman Marc Methot on July 1, said Nash held the hammer.

We talked to a number of teams, Howson said on a conference call. We talked to a number of teams outside the list. We wanted to try and gauge what the market was. Ultimately, Rick was in control of this process by deciding where he wanted to go.

It certainly limited the teams that we could talk to seriously.

Howson maintained he was happy with what he got back, but scouts noted the Jackets fell short of getting a franchise player.

Im very pleased with the process, said Howson. The market played itself out. We werent going to do this deal until we got what we believed was fair value for a player of Ricks calibre.

That came together (Monday) so Im pleased with the outcome. Im pleased with the process. Im glad we waited. It certainly gave us a chance to gauge the market.

As for Nash, who has six years left on the eight-year, $62.8 million contract extension he signed with the Jackets, he couldnt be more thrilled.

I was very excited. Im looking forward to this opportunity and being part of something special thats going on with the Rangers, said Nash. Its been a tough five months, but its over and Im very excited (to be with the Rangers).

Nash said the decision to leave Columbus wasnt easy, but he felt he could help the Jackets speed up their rebuild.

I was told that there was going to be a rebuild. Ive been here nine years now and I felt I could be the main piece for the rebuild for them, said Nash. I felt if the circumstances were right, I would waive my no trade clause and help them rebuild. I just felt the Rangers were perfect.

Nash got his wish Monday. The Jackets got what they could. Only the Rangers and Nash will wake up happy Tuesday morning.

SCOUTS BREAKDOWN

DEAL: The Rangers acquired F Rick Nash, D Steven Delisle and a conditional third-round pick from Columbus for F Artem Anisimov and F Brandon Dubinsky, D Tim Erixon and a first-round pick in 2013.

A SCOUT SAYS: This is a horrible deal for the Jackets. They gave up a top-six forward and didnt get one in return. Dubinsky didnt live up to expectations last year, Anisimov could be a good young player and Erixon, I dont think the Rangers felt he could play for them ever. He was just OK in Hartford. He wasnt great. They could have done this deal at the trade deadline. Its almost offensive that they kept asking San Jose for Logan Couture and then they end up with this kind of deal. I mean, what the hell? I guess Scott Howson felt he couldnt get anything better, but this isnt good. Great deal for New York, they got the best player.

RATING THE TRADE: A steal for the Rangers.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @sungarrioch


Photos