Rick Nash. Just his name is enough to bring a smile to any New York Rangers’ fan. The big six foot four winger is finally coming into his own on Broadway, and providing fans with a reason to believe.
He came over in a trade from Columbus during the 2011-2012 season for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first round pick. Despite hard criticism during his first couple of seasons in New York, Nash is quickly quieting his doubters this season and performing on all cylinders out on the ice.
This season, in forty eight games, Nash is tied for the league lead with thirty one goals and has forty six points. After having a disappointing playoffs last season (three goals and ten points), Nash took it upon himself to improve.
He trained differently and harder this summer, and it is definitely paying off. He is a presence on the ice every shift and is even more lethal than ever. Head Coach Alain Vigneault has Rick Nash playing in every situation. Whether it be on the power play, even strength, and even the penalty kill.
Back in Columbus, he was called upon to score goals and had the entire team banking on him to carry them to victory. Now, in New York, Nash has an entire depth team to take the weight off his shoulders. With this, it has allowed him to round out his entire game.
Since coming to New York, Nash has improved his defensive game, and is now a great two-way power forward. As we saw against the Panthers the other night, he can read a defensive play, create a turnover, and bring it down to score.
However, there has always been an area where Nash has not always found great success for the Rangers, the playoffs. During his first season, Nash had a great year with twenty one goals and forty two points. Unfortunately, during the playoffs, in twelve games he had one goal and five points.
Last season, Nash had twenty six goals and thirty nine points in sixty five games. Yet in twenty five playoff games, he had another disappointing postseason, despite a Cup run. His inability to produce in the playoffs has definitely caused critics to bash him and conclude he can not perform under playoff pressure.
Looking back now, the Rangers are finally getting the Rick Nash they had hoped for when they acquired him from the Blue Jackets. He is having a career year and is in the running for the Maurice Richard and Hart trophies. If this Nash is a preview of what is to come during the playoffs, the Rangers will be one deadly team and definitely hard to beat.