Rick Nash Trade Targets

With all due respect to John Davidson, it seems likely that Rick Nash is in his final weeks with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. Over the last few days both Canadan and myself have posted offseason gameplans that included a Nash trade. Dan’s featured Nash heading to Boston for a package featuring David Krejci coming back in return, while mine sent Marc Staal as the main piece coming from the New York Rangers. Both those trades are possible, but are only two of the hundreds of possible combinations that could plausibly be considered fair value for Nash. However, a large portion of those plausible deals should be avoided. Back in February, I wrote about what kind of trades work out when dealing a superstar player. Based on recent history, my opinion is that Nash should be dealt for a package featuring one major piece, a couple of other pieces to make up the value difference, and should not feature a goalie. While a goalie is still a primary concern, they are simply too risky when changing teams to be the major part of the Nash trade. The ideal trade would consist of Nash for a young star player that has not quite broken out yet, along with draft picks/prospects/young depth NHLers to make up the value. With this in mind, I went through the rosters and prospect lists of every NHL team to find the players that I think the Blue Jackets should target. With these players in mind, I then rated the interest that team would have in dealing for Nash, the Blue Jackets interest in such a deal, and Nash’s interest in waiving his no trade clause to go to said team. Without one of the following players returning for Nash, I would consider the trade a failure.

Anaheim

Players: Bobby Ryan/Cam Fowler

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Medium

This is an interesting combination, as Bobby Ryan was a frequent source of trade rumors last season, Nash has played with Getzlaf and Perry in the past, and Anaheim is a desirable destination location-wise. However, I am not sure that a Nash-Ryan swap really accomplishes much for either team, other than a roster shake-up. Both are similarly talented players who play a similar style. Additionally, Nash may not be interested in going to a team that is not a contender.

Boston

Players: Tyler Seguin/David Krejci/Milan Lucic/Dougie Hamilton

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Medium (High if Seguin is in play)

Nash Interest: High

This is a very good landing spot for Nash, and probably one of the top two candidates (behind New York). Boston has a number of young, potential impact players, especially Tyler Seguin. I would trade Nash straight up for Seguin, although I would bet he is off the table no matter what. An interesting wrinkle is the year off by Tim Thomas. As he is signed to a 35+ contract, he counts against the salary cap whether he plays or not. Columbus will have the cap room to take on Thomas in a Nash trade. Boston could potentially trade for Nash and actually save up to $5m in cap space. If Thomas takes a year off, the Jackets would not owe him any salary and would just have an empty cap hit on the books. This likely won’t matter, as they are currently sitting on $20m worth of cap space. If Thomas changes his mind, the Blue Jackets got themselves a very good starting goaltender for a year or two.

Buffalo

Players: Tyler Myers

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Low

Nash’s Interest: Low

Terry Pegula likes to spend money and loves stars, but this isn’t happening. Tyler Myers would be a great addition, but they don’t have the pieces around Myers to make a deal work. There is also no way that Nash okays a trade to the Sabres.

Calgary

Players: None

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: None

Nash’s Interest: Low

Not much to say here. Nash has been a fantastic fit with Iginla in the past, but Calgary just has nothing to offer. They have no young, potential impact players, and their only decent prospect is Sven Bartschi. Bartschi is a good prospect, but not a building block type of player.

Carolina

Players: Jeff Skinner

Their Interest: Low

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Low

Another one not likely to happen. Carolina has a pretty nice stable of youth and prospects, and already has a highly paid veteran star forward in Eric Staal. Further, there is no way Nash okays a trade to a fellow cellar dweller.

Chicago

Players: Patrick Kane

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Low (High if Kane is involved)

Nash’s Interest: High

This is a very interesting proposition. I see no way this happens unless Pat Kane is on the table. Chicago just doesn’t have the young star types that would warrant a Nash deal. However, there are rumblings that Kane may be on the outs with Chicago management. If they decide to put him in play, a Nash-Kane swap would be a fantastic match of skill, star power and salary.

Colorado

Players: Matt Duchene/Ryan O’Reilly/Gabriel Landeskog

Their Interest: Low

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

Colorado has a lot of players that I would be targeting, but I doubt they have much interest in Nash. They look to be building around their young core, and Nash doesn’t really fit. Plus, it’s another team that isn’t too far ahead of the Jackets and an unlikely place for Nash to waive his NTC.

Dallas

Players: Jamie Benn/Alex Goligoski

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Low

The Stars have new ownership who have vowed to shake things up, spend some money, and bring in some big names. A Nash trade sure would do that. However, they would likely have to part with stud Jamie Ben to make that happen. I could see ownership pushing for that. But it’s unlikely Nash wants to go and be the face of the franchise for a team that is really not that dissimilar from the Blue Jackets.

Detroit

Players: None

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Low

Nash’s Interest: High

Detroit has a major hole to fill, and while Nash isn’t a defender, his salary would nicely fit in the space recently vacated by Lidstrom. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are rumored to be targets, but going after Nash would be a move in a similar vein. While Detroit is a division rival, they have an unparalleled reputation in the NHL as a landing spot for players, a long history of success, and is the kind of place any player waives an NTC to end up. However, they do not have any of the pieces necessary for this trade to make sense for Columbus. While they are sitting on a solid prospect pool, they don’t have any true top line/top pair prospects, nor any young future stars.

Edmonton

Players: Taylor Hall/Ryan Nugent-Hopkins/Jordan Eberle

Their Interest: Low

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

Similar to the Avalanche. Have a very nice core group of players that would interest the Jackets, are not likely to want to break up that core, and are very unlikely to get Nash to waive his NTC.

Florida

Players: Erik Gudbranson/Dmitry Kulikov/Jonathan Huberdeau/Nick Bjugstad

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Medium

This is my favorite dark horse candidate for a Nash trade. Dale Tallon loves his superstars and is not afraid to overpay to go get them. Florida has a wealth of top prospects, including two future first liners in Huberdeau and Bjugstad. They also have two stud young defenders in Gudbranson and Kulikov. They might be the best candidate to put together a package that Howson cannot say no to. It comes down to Rick Nash and his NTC. Will he waive it to go to Florida? I can see the scenario where he does. They made a nice run this year, they have no state income tax, they have amazing weather, and there will be little to no media spotlight. Is that enough to overcome the fact that they are not a true contender? I’m not sure.

Los Angeles

Players: Drew Doughty/Dustin Brown

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: High

While the interest levels make this trade look possible, I just don’t see it happening. Unless they choke away a 3-1 series lead, I doubt they move anyone from their core. Dustin Brown doesn’t quite fit the mold of the young future star, but he does have a lot of the intangibles the Blue Jackets seem to be after these days. Drew Doughty is not likely to be going anywhere now, but as recently as a few months ago his contract was looking like a potential albatross. L.A. has a number of big contracts coming off the books this year, and the only scenario in which they make a move for Nash would be if they lose all those players. And of course Nash would waive his no trace clause to go here.

Minnesota

Players: Mikael Granlund/Charlie Coyle/Jonas Brodin/Jason Zucker/7th overall

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

This is the only team that doesn’t have a young future star on the roster that could still put together an enticing package. Granlund, Coyle, Brodin and Zucker are all incredible prospects and the 7th overall pick is a pretty solid addition (Radek Faksa in my last mock draft, with Jacob Trouba, Griffin Reinhart & Morgan Rielly still on the board). A godfather offer like that would be mindblowing. However, I doubt Nash wants to go to Minnesota.

Montreal

Players: P.K. Subban/Max Pacioretty

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Low

Subban and Pacioretty are interesting names, but I do not see any scenario in which Nash waives his no trace clause to go here. Far too much media spotlight, an unsettled situation coach/management-wise, and they weren’t too far ahead of Columbus last year.

Nashville

Players: N/A

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Low

Nash’s Interest: Medium

A Colin Wilson & Jonathan Blum/Ryan Ellis package was originally listed here, but on further thought I believe that is the kind of package to avoid. Wilson has second line upside and Blum and Ellis are both flawed enough that they don’t have top pair potential. Someone like that needs to come back for Nash.

New Jersey Devils

Players: Adam Larsson/Adam Henrique

Their Interest: Low (High if they lose Parise)

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Medium

Only way the Devils get into the Nash sweepstakes is if they know for sure Parise is gone before the draft. If so, Ilya Kovalchuk and Martin Brodeur would be very pushy in trying to acquire a replacement superstar. Adam Larsson is the kind of top pair player the Jackets should be looking for, but he may be untouchable. Henrique has really broken out this year, but I am not 100% sure his play is not due largely to his impressive linemates allowing him a lot of space.

New York Islanders

Players: Tavares/Strome/Nino/Hamonic/Grabner/Okposo

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium (High if Tavares in play)

Nash’s Interest: Low

Tavares would likely be my dream pick up (I’m a huge fan of Johnny T), but he’s the franchise in Long Island and probably not going anywhere. The Islanders have a large number of high draft picks/young NHLers to put together a good enough package for Nash, but he doesn’t waive his NTC to go to one of the most dysfunctional franchises in sports.

New York Rangers

Players: Marc Staal/Derek Stepan/Michael Del Zotto

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: High

This is the likely landing point for Nash in my opinion. We know they really want him, we know Nash really wants to go there, and we know they have a lot of assets they are willing to include to make it happen. My hope is that one of Staal, Stepan and Del Zotto are the major piece coming back, and not just Dubinsky and a bunch of draft picks, non-elite prospects, and depth players. I like Dubinsky, but he is not a true top line talent, and if he is the best piece coming back for Nash, the trade is officially a failure.

Ottawa

Players: Erik Karlsson

Their Interest: Low

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

Not happening. Karlsson is the only player that interests me enough to talk Nash, but he isn’t moving. Furthermore, I highly doubt Nash accepts a trade to Ottawa. Not a good enough team, plus the Canadian spotlight. No thanks.

Philadelphia

Players: James Van Riemsdyk/Brayden Schenn/Sean Couturier/Wayne Simmonds/Jakub Voracek

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: High

I had not put much thought into Philly as a Nash destination until starting this piece. Then I looked over their roster and saw they have a wealth of players who I would be targeting. Additionally, we know the Flyers love stars, love big power forwards, and aren’t afraid to shake things up. A package of Van Riemsdyk and Schenn/Couturier would probably be enough to top almost any offer from any other team. And I would bet that Nash would waive his NTC to join the Flyers in a heartbeat. I also think this would be a very humourous trade, especially if either Couturier or Voracek ended up coming back in return.

Phoenix

Players: Keith Yandle/Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Their Interest: Low

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

Not happening. Still too much uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes for Nash to agree to go there. Plus their identity is very intertwined with what Yandle and Ekman-Larsson bring to the table for them to be moved for a forward. Oh, and Nash makes a boatload of money and the Coyotes are the brokest team in pro sports.

Pittsburgh

Players: Jordan Staal/Kris Letang

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: High

Pittsburgh’s interest is tough to gauge. On one hand, they have a lot of money being paid out to a couple superstars. On the other hand, they have Jordan Staal’s big contract about to expire after next season. A Nash-Staal trade makes a lot of sense, unless the Jackets can’t get Staal to agree to an extension.

San Jose

Players: Logan Couture/Joe Pavelski

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: High

San Jose will be coming hard after Nash, but without including Couture, I just don’t see it happening. I like Pavelski a lot, but I’m not sold he’s a true top line talent, nor am I sold the Sharks have the pieces to add to Pavelski to have a deal make sense. If their disappointing season pushes them to include Couture, they may move up with New York and Boston in most likely to acquire Nash.

St. Louis

Players: Alex Pietrangelo/Chris Stewart/Patrick Berglund/TJ Oshie/Kevin Shattenkirk/Jaden Schwartz

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium (High if Pietrangelo is available)

Nash’s Interest: Low

Nash already quit on Hitchcock once, I doubt he would want to go play for him again. Without including Piertrangelo, I don’t know if St. Louis has a true top line talent to send for Nash, although a package including multiple players of those listed would be interesting.

Tampa Bay

Players: Victor Hedman

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: Medium

The Lightning are about the least interesting team on this list. I’m sure they have interest in Nash, but they already have a lot of money paid out to forwards. Columbus would be interested in Hedman, but I’m not sure Tampa is interested in moving out their only good defenseman, nor that they have the pieces to put around Hedman to make it work and still be competitive. They are somewhat interesting to Nash a destination, plus they have Stamkos, Lecavalier and St. Louis, but they have terrible defense and goaltending. Not sure Nash wants to deal with that again.

Toronto

Players: Phil Kessel/Jake Gardiner

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Low

Nash’s Interest: Medium

Toronto has frequently been mentioned as a Nash trade location, but doesn’t make much sense to me. Yes, Nash is from the Toronto area. So what? Phil Kessel isn’t a building block player, Jake Gardiner is solid but I’m not sold he’s future superstar, and the 5th pick is nice, but not enough for Nash. As for Nash, I am still not sure he wants to go there. The allure of home is nice and if he wins there he will be a legend. But the spotlight is crazy bright (which he hates) and they are in about as bad a shape as the Blue Jackets currently are. It’s a sideways move for him with the potential to be worse.

Vancouver

Players: Ryan Kesler

Their Interest: Medium

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: High

Nash-Sedin-Sedin would instantly be the best line in the NHL. I just don’t think they have the pieces to make it happen. Ryan Kesler is the most attractive player to the Jackets, but he is hurt nearly every year and I am uncertain he will be able to stay healthy enough to be a franchise player.

Washington

Players: John Carlson/Karl Alzner

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: Medium

Nash’s Interest: High

Washington will be in on the Nash sweepstakes and they are a solid choice by Nash to waive his NTC. However, aside from Carlson and Alzner, I don’t see a package that makes much sense. I’m not sure the Capitals would be willing to move both of them, and without any other blue chip players/prospects (outside of Kuznetsov, who is a non-starter for Columbus), they might have to include both of them to make a deal happen.

Winnipeg

Players: Evander Kane/Zach Bogosian

Their Interest: High

CBJ Interest: High

Nash’s Interest: Low

I really wish Winnipeg was either a really good team or in a more attractive location. Unfortunately, there is no way Nash waives his NTC for the Jets. It’s unfortunate because I think Evander Kane would be the absolute perfect player to target. Only twenty years old, hasn’t really exploded into superstar status yet, and plays with the kind of grit and fire that would fit in well on this current incarnation of the Blue Jackets.

2 Responses to 'Rick Nash Trade Targets'

  1. Fro says:

    I said at the trade deadline that Nash to Florida for Kulikov, a 1st, and a prospect would be an instant yes…that was when we needed young up and coming defensemen…

    I think we’re looking at BOS, PHI, NYR, FLA (agree that they are a strong darkhorse), and SJS are about the only teams that can truly pull off a trade…

    TOR and NASH are two teams I think will attempt to put together a deal and for me, going back to a post on HF, if EDM goes Murray at 1, we go Nail at 2, all the sudden that #5 lands us another of Galy, Grigo, or Forsberg and looks a lot more attractive to me…

    If Dan’s post comes to fruition, returning Krejci would be great for us as I’ve always liked his game. I agree with your assessment that getting JVR and another player back would be the best package available…In other posts, I advocated a deal with TOR for #5 and Schenn (+ more) then moving Schenn + for JVR…so I am firmly in the book that he would be a suitable replacement

    • Mike Majeski says:

      “TOR and NASH are two teams I think will attempt to put together a deal and for me, going back to a post on HF, if EDM goes Murray at 1, we go Nail at 2, all the sudden that #5 lands us another of Galy, Grigo, or Forsberg and looks a lot more attractive to me…”

      Agreed, TOR’s involvement in the Rick Nash saga is highly dependent on the draft. Even if EDM goes with Nail, we can take Murray and still trade for the 5th and get Galy, Grigo, or Forsberg.

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