July 23, 2012
Nash shipped to RangersFour pieces going Jackets' way
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
The asking price was supposedly a king’s 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. “We’re happy to have a five-time all-star on our team and a 40-goal scorer. He’s only 28 years old.
“He’s one of the better goal scorers in the NHL and he’s 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. I’m 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 it’s a fair trade for both sides.”
It’s no wonder Sather feels that way — he got the best player. No, Nash doesn’t have a whole lot of playoff experience after spending his career with the Jackets, but he’s consistently been one of the NHL’s top scorers.
The Jackets would have liked more of a return, but Howson’s 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.
“I’m very pleased with the process,” said Howson. “The market played itself out. We weren’t going to do this deal until we got what we believed was fair value for a player of Rick’s calibre.
“That came together (Monday) so I’m pleased with the outcome. I’m pleased with the process. I’m 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 couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I was very excited. I’m looking forward to this opportunity and being part of something special that’s going on with the Rangers,” said Nash. “It’s been a tough five months, but it’s over and I’m very excited (to be with the Rangers).”
Nash said the decision to leave Columbus wasn’t easy, but he felt he could help the Jackets speed up their rebuild.
“I was told that there was going to be a rebuild. I’ve 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.
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 didn’t get one in return. Dubinsky didn’t live up to expectations last year, Anisimov could be a good young player and Erixon, I don’t think the Rangers felt he could play for them ever. He was just OK in Hartford. He wasn’t great. They could have done this deal at the trade deadline. It’s 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 couldn’t get anything better, but this isn’t good. Great deal for New York, they got the best player.”
RATING THE TRADE: A steal for the Rangers.