After months of speculation, Rick Nash was finally traded Monday to the New York Rangers in a deal that looks very lopsided. In return for Nash, the Columbus Blue Jackets will receive Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.
Rick Nash created headlines mid-season when he requested to be traded from the last place Blue Jackets. The request came weeks before the NHL trade deadline and after general manager Scott Howson failed to deliver a deal before the deadline, Nash had to conclude an awkward finish to the season with a team that he no longer wanted to play for.
Howson waited a while to pull the trigger once the season ended and many will now question whether his patience hurt the teams position in trade negotiations. The Rangers are clear winners in this trade as they acquired a star power forward in his prime without giving up any big pieces.
Nash, the oldest player in the deal at 28, is one of the most decorated players in the league. He is a five-time all-star who helped Canada win the Olympic gold medal in the 2010 Olympics. He also has played in four World Championships, leading Canada to gold in 2007 and silver in 2005 and 2008. Plus, he shared the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2004, scoring 41 goals to lead the league along with Ilya Kovalchuk, then of Atlanta, and Calgary's Jarome Iginla.
Joining a much stronger team in New York will surely help Nash get his career back on track. He has failed to reach over 70 points in the last three season, however he will now be playing with talented players like Brad Richards, Marion Gaborik and Ryan Callahan.
The prevailing thought was that Howson was being patient in order to get a significant return that would accelerate the Blue Jackets on going rebuild. It appears as if the Blue Jackets failed to accomplish this as neither Dubinsky or Anisimov fit the label of a top six forward. The first round pick that they'll receive next year wont be anything special, as the Rangers will likely finish near the top of the standings. The Jackets needed a blue chip prospect and an impact player, and failed to acquire both.
The impact of this trade will make the Jackets worse right now. Nash was their top offensive performer and even with him in the lineup the offense was starved for goals. Dubinsky and Anisimov will likely get ice time on the top two lines, however they have failed to establish that they are prepared for a top 6 role on an NHL team.
This trade represents a tale of two franchises headed in complete opposite directions. The Rangers now look poised to compete for a Stanley Cup, while the Blue Jackets seem like a sure bet to finish as a bottom five team in the league once again.