With the free agency cupboard becoming more and more bare by the day, conventional thinking is that if Glen Sather is going to upgrade the Rangers it’s going to be via a trade.
And the one Rangers player who continues to be mentioned among Blueshirt Nation as possible trade bait is Rick Nash.
I can’t tell you the amount of e-mails, tweets and Facebook messages I receive regarding trade scenarios involving the 30-year old winger.
Understandably, Rangers fans have been frustrated with Nash’s two underwhelming seasons in New York, most notably in the postseason where he’s scored a grand total of FOUR goals in 37 games.
The multiple concussions Nash has suffered during his brief tenure on Broadway have turned him into a perimeter player who is very rarely interested in driving to the net despite glimpses of his former self when doing so.
The problem with trading Nash is that his value couldn’t be lower. What could you realistically get in return for a player who’s a shell of his former self? Nothing near the package Columbus received from the Rangers two offseasons ago. Which means they’re unlikely to receive anything resembling NHL talent to upgrade a win now team.
So, if the Rangers are able to unload Nash and his $7.8 million per over the next four season salary for some top prospects and picks this offseason, who exactly would replace his team leading 47 goals the last two years, this season?
As I mentioned, top UFAs are non-existent at this point in the summer, however, the Blueshirts would have an additional $7.8 million worth of cap space they could use to trade for almost anyone they want, other than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of course. But are you really willing to further blow-up a Stanley Cup Finalist roster to replace Nash?
Oh yeah, there’s this other minor complication that may get in the way of a Nash trade…his no movement clause.
And if you don’t believe me that a Nash trade is nothing more than a pipe dream, just ask Larry Brooks at the New York Post…
“But I’m here to tell you that a trade is not happening. Nash has a no-move clause in his contract in force through the end of this season that management has no intention of asking him to waive and No. 61 has no intention of volunteering to forfeit.”
While Rangers fans seem interested in jettisoning Nash, one player on their wish list this offseason is Evander Kane, who looks like he could be on the trade market after this statement the other day…
“I’m a Jet now, there’s been rumours for three years about me moving, we’ll see what happens.”
Despite Kane insinuating he wants out of Winnipeg, the Jets are in no rush to trade their talented and cap friendly ($5.25M per for the next four years) 22-year old forward, so they’d need to be swept off their feet to pull the trigger on a transaction that would be wildly unpopular in Winnipeg no matter what the return.
According to reports, Winnipeg is currently looking for a top-6 forward or top-4 defenseman who is in their prime or coming of age and locked-up long term in return for Kane.
One look at the Rangers roster tells you they can’t come close to offering that kind of package. Unless you think Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would be interested in a return centering around the 30-year old Dan Girardi, whose six-year, $5.5 million extension commences this season. And don’t even propose a Nash/Kane blockbuster, because there’s no chance the former Blue Jackets captain approves a trade to Winnipeg. Sorry, Jets fans. I appreciate your in-game antics, but c’mon.
The Rangers lack of depth up the middle makes it very unlikely they’d be willing to add Derek Stepan, Derrick Brassard or JT Miller to any proposal and unless a sign and trade can be worked out with Marc Staal, he’s a doubtful option as well.
Not having a first round pick next season, nor a true stud prospect doesn’t make things easier for Sather in any potential quest to obtain Kane.
Having said that, I was shocked by the Marian Gaborik trade, while equally blindsided by the John Tortorella firing. So, I never, ever count Glen Sather out of any possible scenario to upgrade the Rangers.