Elite is defined as: the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons.
The 28-year-old superstar winger in nine years with the Blue Jackets recorded seven 30-plus goal seasons including two 40-plus goal seasons. Those numbers occurred with a team who only made it to the playoffs once in their franchise history.
Now that Rick Nash has a first place team around him expect his numbers to increase. How much will they increase? Expect them to increase to elite status.
What is elite status in the NHL? Think of players like Steven Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
In the past, all those players were able to score 50-plus even 60-plus goals in one season and were also able to hit the over 100 point plateau in one season. In the next couple of years, Rick Nash will be able to add his name to the list as an elite player.
I say a couple of years because it will take Nash some time to get used to his teammates, much like teammate Brad Richards, who was the Rangers big free agency acquisition last year. In 82 games last season Richards tallied 66 points, his lowest since the 2008-09 season in which he only played 56 games.
While Rick Nash might go through the first year struggles like Brad Richards, the trade will pay off for both the Rangers and Nash. For the Blueshirts, they acquire that “one piece” that can get them to the Stanley Cup, while Rick Nash has a team that can not only win him a Stanley Cup, but also help him become an elite player in the NHL.
Nick Krapf covers the New York Rangers for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @NickKrapf.