Rick Nash: A Very Costly Investment

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is shopping Rick Nash around the trade market as a big-ticket item, there’s no doubting that. But his asking price is so high that it’s causing other teams to withdraw their interest in him–he’s just too costly for some clubs to consider.

The latest exit from the Nash sweepstakes competition is the Carolina Hurricanes. They withdrew their interest because Howson refused to budge on one part of the potential deal: he wanted Jeff Skinner.

Skinner is a particularly gifted young player, 2011 Calder Trophy winner, 63 points in his rookie season, youngest participant in an All-Star Game when it was held at his home arena in Raleigh last year. He had 44 points in 64 games this season and was on track to keep going, but had a concussion that interrupted his year.

Including Skinner in a deal was always a no-go for the Hurricanes, so the insistent Howson made this potential deal deflate before it could be done.

Now the Hurricanes are looking to other potential pickups: Shane Doan (who still has four days left to decide what to do, judging by the earlier announcement that he’d decide on July 9), Alexander Semin (whose name has been lost in this shuffle, but could be a good choice–provided he doesn’t skip America altogether for the KHL, which has put together an attractive ‘one player doesn’t count to the salary cap’ package to lure Russian NHL players) or any other options still on the market.

Howson’s insistence has also created difficulty with the New York Rangers. They’re holding on to three players, including Chris Kreider, another young talent who burst onto the scene during the Rangers’ playoff run after finishing his third year at Boston College. He scored five goals in the Rangers’ postseason, a record for the most playoff goals scored before playing a regular-season game.

Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan are also off-limits, but Howson keeps saying that he wants at least one, maybe two, of the three.

This is a deal that could continue to endure through much of the offseason if Howson remains this stubborn about what he wants in return. Keep in mind that Nash has provided a short list of teams he’d be okay with going to, so not all 29 other teams are even in consideration. His asking price could prove so high that he could just decide to stay in Columbus. Considering his prolonged interest in leaving, though, that may not happen. At this point, though, any team interested in Nash had better be ready to pay up in terms of trading–and to pay a lot.

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