Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson had the entire hockey world believing that Rick Nash wouldn’t be moved unless he himself was moved by an offer. We were told all offseason that the New York Rangers would need to sacrifice a promising package of prospects and picks to acquire the star winger. Nash appeared content in Columbus and the Blue Jackets were in no rush to force a trade. After all, Nash was signed for years to come and the desperation of last season’s trading deadline didn’t result in a trade. With all factors seemingly stacked against a reasonable deal getting done, the New York Rangers somehow orchestrated a blockbuster trade for Rick Nash without conceding the best of their young talent.
The Rangers acquired Rick Nash, a prospect of their own in Steven Delisle, and a conditional third-round pick for a package that they’ll hardly miss. The New York Rangers merely sent stumbling center Brandon Dubinsky, center Artem Anisimov, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, and a 1st round pick to the Blue Jackets. The trade is a big win for the New York Rangers – they got their guy and held onto their blue-chip youth.
Rumors swirled that young players that contributed to the Rangers’ exciting run last season would need to be part of a Rick Nash trade package. Derek Stepan, Ryan Mcdonagh, Chris Kreider, and other NHL contributors reportedly set the talent level of Columbus’ interests. Instead, they got Brandon Dubinsky fresh off his worst full season in the NHL, Anisimov’s 40 points per year, and defensive prospect Tim Erixon. Erixon may pan out in the NHL, but the New York Rangers have tremendous depth on the blue line and can afford to include him in a trade. Anisimov is far from an offensive center, but a serviceable NHL player with some upside. Brandon Dubinsky’s best days may be behind him after scoring just ten goals last year. Dubinsky had high expectations for last season after producing more than 50 points in 2010-11, but his ten goals and disappointing play make him particularly expendable. A first round pick in the later portion of the round likely won’t help the Blue Jackets rebuild. Ultimately, this package has to be disappointing for Scott Howson and the Blue Jackets.
The New York Rangers should be ecstatic. They did not give in to Howson’s unreasonable trade demands and won an apparent battle of wills. Rangers GM Glen Sather acquired New York’s biggest target, addressing a desperate need on offense while holding onto the future of the organization. New York has offensive and defensive depth while assembling what could prove to be the best top-line in the NHL. This trade is a tremendous victory for the New York Rangers and John Tortorella has the top-line that video game dreams are made of.
On the flip side, you almost feel sorry for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their rebuilding efforts likely took a giant step backward as one of the most coveted offseason targets in the NHL was dealt for a middling package of prospects. Howson manipulated the press for nearly a year and the best he could do was land a 26-year-old Brandon Dubinsky. Columbus has no goalie, no superstars, and little chance to turn around a struggling franchise. It’s a sad day for Ohio sports.
With the acquisition of Rick Nash to the New York Rangers, the Blueshirts solidify their position as one of the favorites to escape a loaded Atlantic Division. Additionally, Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees hours later. As bad as this day was for Columbus, New York City is building for championships by peeling away the stars of the worst teams in their respective sports. As long as Ichiro and Nash can handle the big lights of the city, New York is looking at a whole lot of wins on the immediate horizon.