Now that the playoffs are officially over and Mike Richards and Jeff Carter might finally be sober (I said might), it’s time for what many call the silly season – trades and free agency! Depending on which team you root for will depend how you look at this time of year. For Rangers fans, while Sather has been better, it’s time to cringe. This year we get double the fun since the team is in a bunch of trade rumors for deals expected to take place before July 1st. So why is this different than any other year? Well if you haven’t heard, the Rangers need scoring. (Yes they need defense as well but today we are discussing forwards only.)
So what names have they been connected to?
Alexander Radulov – TSN’s Bob McKenzie knocked this ridiculous rumor down by saying he’s not convinced of the Rangers interest in the first place. Darren Dreger seconded it. I said it was ridiculous from the start.
Zach Parise – I don’t care if he’s a Devil. I would love to get Zach on the Rangers. That said I knew there was no way the current captain of our rival was jumping across the Hudson. Not surprisingly he agreed. Fortunately for those of us who hate unrealistic rumors he confirmed it as early as he could so we could put this one to rest (at least I am).
Bobby Ryan/Ryan Getzlaf – I have no idea if either is available so honestly believe this is a pipe dream created by Rangers fans. My opinion: I would take Ryan in a heartbeat (and might even give up a player or two I wouldn’t normally for him due to his age). I have no interest in Getzlaf.
That brings us to the big one – Rick Nash. I have gone on record since January voicing my opinion on this and it hasn’t changed. No Nash No. I do not want him. And here’s why:
* Cost. I’m not just talking about what we will have to give Columbus to get him in a blueshirt, which will be ridiculous. (I like Dubinsky but if he has to go I’ve accepted it. I’m not willing to part with Del Zotto, Stepan, Miller or McIlrath, at least one and probably two of which would need to be included.) I’m talking future cost. Nash comes with a $7.8 million cap hit for the next six years. Sure we have the space next season but what happens next summer when Stepan (assuming he isn’t part of the deal) and McDonagh are due raises? Or the year after when it’s Callahan, Kreider, Girardi and Lundqvist looking for new contracts? Anyone willing to let those guys walk? Didn’t think so. And heaven forbid the cap drops at some point, we’re completely screwed.
* Age. Nash will be 28 years old to start next season meaning he probably has two to three good years left before he starts to decline. (As a 29-year old, I hate to admit this but in the hockey world, I’m considered old. It is what it is.) As I just mentioned, he’s signed for six more years. Sure some fans will take a Stanley Cup during those years and deal with the decline later. I mean Sather was able to get rid of Gomez, right? Yeah pretty sure even Bob Gainey won’t make that mistake again. No one is taking a thirty-something year old who makes $7.8 million off our hands in a couple of years so what happens if we don’t get that Cup in the first half of the contract?
* Replacements for those traded. It’s going to cost more than one roster player to get Nash. So who’s replacing those guys? The prospects you just included in the deal? And while I know Torts likes to carry the bare minimum number of players allowed, injuries tend to hit when you have no backup plan (see what happened with Staal and Sauer last year…not sure how many people realize how lucky we were McDonagh and Del Zotto were ready to take the next step).
* Chemistry. Say what you want but that’s important. He’s played nine seasons and Columbus has yet to find a permanent center to play with Nash. What makes everyone so sure he’ll work with Richards or Stepan? Weren’t Drury and Gomez both brought in to play with Jagr? Yeah how did that work out? You’re also messing with a tight team depending on how many players will be part of the trade. I know changes will be made but those will be small. This won’t be.
* Spotlight. This one could go either way but I’m adding it in. Nash has played his entire career in the hockey hotbed of Columbus, Ohio. I honestly think there are diehard hockey fans who can’t name more than him on the Blue Jackets roster. I also don’t know the last time they came close to a sellout (I’m guessing the year they made the playoffs). New York City is a whole different animal. Some people thrive in it, others do not. I’m not willing to give up the farm in hopes that he falls into the first category. And yes he played for Team Canada in the Olympics. He was one of an entire team of guys who the media gave attention to. He will be one of four in New York (Gaborik, Richards, and Lundqvist being the other three). That will make a difference.
I understand the Rangers need scoring. I would love to watch a team where I’m not shocked they managed three or four goals on a given night. But the past few years, we’ve built from within. We’ve added guys who will aid the core. I wasn’t all for the Richards signing but all it cost us was money. If it didn’t work, at least we didn’t lose someone to find that out. In this case, we will. And if I have to watch our kids and prospects become superstars while Nash falters in New York, I will not be a happy fan. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – No Nash No!