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|Rangers land Rick Nash in multi-player trade|
|Written by Denis Gorman|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 19:29|
The New York Rangers land one of the NHL's premier power forwards and, despite Columbus GM Scott Howson's boastful statement at the trade deadline, the cost was not high.Rick Nash wanted out of Columbus. He wanted to be a New York Ranger. The New York Rangers wanted Rick Nash.
Both sides finally got what they wanted Monday afternoon. Each other.
Nash was traded to New York in a blockbuster deal that sent Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, prospect defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round pick in next year’s draft to Columbus. The Rangers also acquired a third round pick and minor league defenseman Steven Delisle.
“[I am] looking forward to this opportunity,” Nash said in a conference call with reporters late Monday afternoon.
The trade was the culmination of talks that began during last February’s trade deadline period when Nash submitted a list of teams to Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson that he would accept a trade to. The Rangers were on the list along with the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks.
But a trade was not conceived at the deadline as Howson’s demands were deal-breakers. He said following the deadline that “the price was high and I don’t apologize for that. It had to be high.” The Columbus GM spoke to other teams about Nash during the draft and free agency period —Carolina and Ottawa, most notably—but the winger would not expand his list.
“[I] don’t like to talk about things that did or did not happen,” Rangers GM Glen Sather said on the same conference call. “[I] think it is a fair trade for both sides.”
Sather also said he had had “pretty much continuous” discussions with Howson after the season ended, and added that “this quality hockey player doesn’t come along very often.”
Nash, the first overall pick in the 2002 draft, is 28. He has scored 30 or more goals seven times in his career, with a high of 41 in 2003-04. Nash has six years and $47.4 million remaining on a contract extension signed during the 2010-11 season.
Sather did not admit to concern about cap ramifications. He noted that Anisimov is a restricted free agent and Dubinsky has $12.6 million left on a deal he signed last summer. Erixon will be a restricted free agent following the 2013-14 season.
The Rangers are $13.391 million under the cap ceiling after the trade, so they have room and the means to add another free agent. Reportedly, Shane Doan visited with the Rangers last week.
“The money is a wash,” Sather said. [There are] still some people available we’re talking to.
“[The trade] doesn’t eliminate the opportunity to pursue.”
On paper Nash seems to be a perfect fit for a young Rangers team that struggled offensively in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Rangers, who were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final, averaged 2.15 goals per game in the playoffs.
When the Rangers convened at their Westchester, NY, training facility on Memorial Day for the last time in 2011-12, coach John Tortorella acknowledged that the team needed an influx of skill to complement one of the league’s strongest defensive-oriented squads.
'I think we have made improvements but I don't think any organization in the league wants to sit still. We have to continue to improve as an organization, not just skill but all throughout,” Tortorella said.
“'Sometimes when you think it's a really good piece but he doesn't exactly fit in all the little things you do, you can teach him those things if he really brings you something else. We have to work extremely hard to score goals. Along the way if there's something that can help, you find a way to teach your concept (and) allow some talent to let (him) work for you.''
And now, Tortorella and the Rangers have one of the NHL’s premier power forwards.
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