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NHL Rumors: Should the New York Rangers Pursue Bobby Ryan or Rick Nash?

NHL rumors continue to swirl about possible trade destinations for top-line forwards Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash.  The New York Rangers appear by most accounts to be the frontrunners to land Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be in position to trade for Bobby Ryan.  Trade talks fell through last winter when the New York Rangers first inquired about Bobby Ryan, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are dead for this offseason.  The Anaheim Ducks are still shopping Bobby Ryan and the New York Rangers can match the caliber of prospects the Philadelphia Flyers are reportedly offering as Philly attempts to keep top-prospect Sean Couturier.  Bobby Ryan is a perfect addition to a top line featuring Marion Gaborik and Brad Richards, so why has all New York Rangers trade talk focused on Rick Nash?

The asking price for Rick Nash is still reportedly very high and the Jackets appear to be content to let Nash sit.  Rick Nash is extremely selective about the teams he is willing to go to and the Blue Jackets are extremely particular about the prospects they want in return.  Both Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan are under contract beyond next season, so there continues to be no real deadline for either forward to be moved.  Rick Nash is signed through 2018 for a cap hit of a ridiculous 7.8 million dollars.  Nash had only two more points than Bobby Ryan last year, is that worth over two million dollars more per year?

Bobby Ryan carries a more reasonable 5.5 million dollar salary.  He scored more than 30 goals in each of his four seasons as an NHL starter.  Moreover, Bobby Ryan is only 25 years old and represents a nice balance of goal-scoring and skillful passing, having never produced less than 57 points each year.  With most of the New York Rangers rumors swirling around Rick Nash and the lofty trade demands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, why haven’t the Rangers made a stronger inquiry into the services of Bobby Ryan?  Ryan is a similar caliber scorer to Rick Nash, but comes at a cheaper price, both in contract and the package of prospects that the Anaheim Ducks appear to be expecting.

Even if the New York Rangers are unable to acquire Bobby Ryan from the Ducks, they could force the hand of the Philadelphia Flyers.  As it stands, the best Flyers offers appear to be a combination of draft picks, Jakub Voracek, and Matt Read.  If the Rangers got involved in serious trade talks, their Atlantic Division rival might be forced to give up a better package.  There’s no reason for the Rangers to be focused only on Rick Nash.

Additionally, Rick Nash talks should barely exist until Bobby Ryan is officially off the market.  Ryan represents a comparable skill set and statistical track record, but a cheaper price.  Rick Nash, as a result of trade talks to this point, should be little more than a secondary plan for the New York Rangers.

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