Now that the NHL season is officially over and the Chicago Blackhawks have been crowned as Stanley Cup Champs, the trade rumors are now in full swing. With big names such as Evgeni Malkin and Milan Lucic being circulated, it is no surprises how New York Rangers’ forward Rick Nash has been added to the list.
The big 6’4” power forward from Canada had a career year in goals (42) and seemed to have his best season yet as a Ranger. He has completely rounded his game and became a complete two-way forward with his penalty killing and defensive awareness. However, Nash is paid the big bucks to score goals, which he had no problem doing during the regular season.
Once the playoffs come, Nash has a tendency to become nonexistent. During the Rangers run to the Stanley Cup back in 2014, he had three goals and ten points in twenty-five games. This postseason, in nineteen games Nash had five goals and fourteen points. While he did improve, it still seems as if Nash is afraid to go to the dirty areas to score greasy goals come playoff time. He does seem to be the main scapegoat when the Rangers are bounced from the playoffs, which can somewhat true as an elite offensive player, the scoring starts with him.
It has been reported that Buffalo will try to pursue Nash and others reported that Nash for T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues can be a possibility. However, Nash has a $7.8 million cap hit and a limited no-trade clause and under contract until 2018.
It is known that Buffalo will be the most aggressive going after Nash. There may have been internal talks or speculations with the front office trading Nash to clear cap space to sign important free agents and to acquire promising young talent, but there is no way that Glen Sather will trade away Nash.
Nash has around 15% of the teams goals over the past three seasons and was vital to their offensive success during the 2014-2015 regular season. As he matured as a player, he has brought even more to the table than offense. Head coach Alain Vigneault can fully trust number 61 in any situation, including defense.
Nash plays on the second penalty killing unit with Derek Stepan and is a back checking machine. Alain Vigneault can thank Mike Babcock for the penalty killing tip and helping develop Nash into the player he became this season. He was healthy all season and came into training camp in the best shape he as ever been in while in New York. A new attitude meant an entirely new Rick Nash. Nash was even in talks to be considered for the Hart Trophy for being
Of course dumping Rick Nash would shred a considerable amount of salary cap space, but the Rangers should not trade away one of their leaders in scoring. Nash still has two years left on his contract and is only getting better in the postseason. If he can learn to play the same way he did in the regular season and get the greasy goals, he will be unstoppable, but that is a big if. Nash had arguably his best season in the NHL yet, and Alain Vigneault and his staff cannot wait to see what he can bring next year.