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Rumor Mill: McKenzie – Rangers may think about moving Rick Nash

Bobby Bevilacqua

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TSN/s Bob McKenzie reports that the Rangers could be considering trading their All Star winger Rick Nash, mainly due to cap space concerns. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

With the Rangers eliminated from the playoffs, the time has come for crazy trade rumors. Already, fans are claiming that a Talbot trade would bring in the first overall pick, or Taylor Hall (hint: never going to happen), and there is clickbait galore claiming knowledge from “insiders” about some crazy trade that could happen.

The Rangers have the luxury of being a big market team, as well as one of the more wide-spread fan bases in the league, with Rangers fans all over the country. Because of this, they’re usually more susceptible to heavy criticism, lofty expectations, and yes, crazy trade rumors.

A few days ago, the Rick Nash trade rumors seemed to be grouped in with the rest of those crazy trade scenarios. But as time passes, the talks of this being a possibility haven’t slowed down, and may actually have some truth behind it.

This all stems from an article by Larry Brooks of the New York Post from May 31st, where he suggested that if the Rangers were planning to overhaul the team, it should start with a Rick Nash trade. He then suggested that a potential destination could be St. Louis, where he would reunite with his former coach, Ken Hitchcock, who is an “unabashed fan of No. 61, and the Blues are in desperate need of changing their own postseason narrative.”

Brooks may have his quirks, and throw out some crazy ideas, but when you look at all of the Rangers’ beat reporters, he’s about as close as you get to an insider. And like Joe Fortunato said on blueshirtbanter.com, it’s never simple with him. “It’s not unlike him to float it out there like an idea.”

So maybe you don’t trust Brooks, fine. Maybe it’s just another wild rumor. That all seemed like a possibility, and then TSN’s Bob McKenzie weighed in last night.

“Mum is the word from the New York Rangers. They’re not talking about specifics, but I have to believe one thing that will at least be considered is the possibility of considering trading Rick Nash,” McKenzie said. (via TheScore)

McKenzie is a very reputable source, but what he says is not automatically truth. However, if he is speculating about what would be a massive trade, he probably has some knowledge that maybe there were talks just to see what they could get for him.

Nash carries a cap hit of $7.8 million through the 2017-18 season. The salary cap is expected to rise just $2 million to $71 million, which would be a new league high. Needing to re-sign Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin, as well as others, it makes sense why this would be a rumor when it comes to financial reasons.

My Opinion

If this rumor has any legitimacy, and the Rangers were considering trading their star winger, then they would have to get A LOT in return. Either a few high first round picks, or significant young talent. Nash is a superstar, and the return would have to be great.

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Rick Nash is an elite talent, and trading him would have to bring back a massive return, one that benefits the future, and gives the Rangers guys that would help right now. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Nash has been the scapegoat for the Rangers’ postseason failure since he has come to New York, starting with the playoffs during the lockout shortened season of 2012-13. Maybe last year’s criticism was fair, as he only scored three goals in 25 games, all against the Canadiens, but he was a lot better during this year’s playoff run.

Think of it this way. Nash was an elite player on a bunch of pretty bad Columbus Blue Jacket teams. Prior to coming to New York, he had four games of playoff experience. In most cases, star players will have at least 60 playoff games to their name when their 30s roll around. For example, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews both have played in over 110 career playoff games. They’re 26 and 27, respectively.

In some ways, Nash was still learning how to play in the postseason through this season’s run.

You can’t look at last year’s performance from Nash and tell me he did not improve in this year’s playoffs. He finished with five goals and nine assists, second on the team behind only Derick Brassard (9-7-16). He had the most important games of his career in Game 4 and Game 6, totaling seven points (3-4-7) in those two games against the Lightning, which helped force a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

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Rick Nash’s performance in Game 6, a one goal, three assist night, helped give the Rangers a shot at winning in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Sure, he wasn’t as effective in Game 7, but neither was anyone else on the team. Brassard, Kreider, Hagelin, Stepan, etc. were nowhere to be found. Not every loss should be pinned on Nash, because it’s simply not fair to him.

The Rangers are primed to make long runs for years to come, with the same experienced, and relatively young, core remaining intact, and young players like Jesper Fast and JT Miller still growing. As this team continues to grow and develop, I think Nash will too. Every year has seen an improvement in his playoff performance, with this year being his best so far.

It’s extremely hard to acquire a star player in the NHL. Not only is Nash a great goal scorer, he’s a fantastic three-zone, two-way player that makes his presence felt all over the ice. That type of player is very hard to come by, and wouldn’t be easy to replace. If the Rangers’ management is going to move him, they better make sure that they get a fantastic return, and players that would fill the huge void left by Nash’s departure.

Again, I’ll go back to Joe Fortunato from Blueshirt Banter.

At one point, Rangers fans criticized Marian Gaborik, two time 40 goal scorer in New York, for his inability to come through in clutch moments, and that he would never be “the guy” to lead a team to the Stanley Cup.

And then he scored 14 goals with the Kings in the playoffs to help them beat the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Maybe it just takes time.

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Posted on June 6, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have a pretty good track record for predicting trades…which were pooh-poohed by fans when I first mentioned them, but nevertheless came true; So here’s my first Nash proposal…Nash and one of the following d-men (Staal, Girardi or Yandle) for Byfuglien, and 1 high round draft pick and a major prospect. I’d also try and sign Cody Franson and sign Mike Reilly who is now a free-agent. More to come

    Like

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