The New York Rangers and the Columbus Blue Jackets completed a trade Monday afternoon for forward Rick Nash. According to the Rangers’ Facebook page, New York acquired Nash, a low level prospect and a third round draft pick in exchange for forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round draft choice. General Manager Glen Sather got away without having to give up coveted young players such as Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh and maintained the team’s youthful core while adding a valuable veteran shooting presence. After the deal was completed, Sather was quoted as saying that this deal was just too difficult to pass up. I agree with the GM 100% here. In comparison for the players Columbus GM Scott Howson was demanding at this past season’s trading deadline, this deal looks like robbery. Dubinsky was never able to really get over the hump in New York, posting respectable yet disappointing stats in comparison to his potential. I personally liked Anisimov as he showed promising skills for the blueshirts this season. He is merely a casualty of the business and this deal in particular. Tim Erixon is the player that worries me most to give up. However, Howson needed an “A” prospect with high upside in any deal for Nash and Erixon fits the bill.
This was a deal that needed to get done for both sides. The Blue Jackets needed to ship out their disgruntled superstar and the Rangers needed another scorer. The deal became more of a necessity for the Rangers when they learned their star winger Marian Gaborik would require shoulder surgery and would be out until December. Gaborik’s scoring would be sorely missed and would have probably led to New York falling behind in the playoff race early on. Nash has been trying to force his way to the Rangers or five other teams on his trade list for some time to pair himself with an all-star center, in this case Brad Richards. I think it would be a fair prediction that Nash and Richards will form a dynamic duo especially with speedsters Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider clearing out open ice.
This move is a game changer for the Rangers. By preserving most of their young talent and acquiring an all-star caliber player, their offense should be a prolific scoring attack as well as fierce. Their defense remains a strength of the team with the likes of Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Ryan MacDonagh at the point. And of course, the King; the incomparable Henrik Lundqvist. His goaltending should remain as effective as always and he will remain the anchor of the team (these points are all assuming a lack of injuries). I think most Rangers fans including myself are excited about this deal. How often so you acquire a thirty-goal scorer with upside for even more offense? The Rangers are now one of the top two or three teams to beat in the East and are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
**Note: Shane Doan visited the Rangers last week along with the Philadelphia Flyers. The free agent 22 goal scoring winger has been a rumored target for New York since free agency opened on July 1st. His acquisition will bring more depth to the right wing position as well as another veteran presence on a still young team.