In any sport, trades are a difficult thing to assess. You have players undergoing a change of scenery, both with their teammates and their life away from the game, prospects that still need time to develop, etc. Which is why it’s probably too early to assess the Rick Nash trade.
But we’re going to do it anyway.
After months of trade rumors, the Columbus Blue Jackets finally shipped Nash off to the team we knew he’d land with all along: the New York Rangers. It was a deal that featured five players, three going to the Blue Jackets and two going to the Rangers, along with draft picks being swapped.
For the Rangers, this deal is working out better than they could have imagined. Nash has 24 points on the year in 25 games. He’s been a monster at both ends of the ice, and has already scored several key goals for the Blueshirts in the third period.
The Blue Jackets’ side of things hasn’t been as easy to call a success. They’re playing some mighty fine hockey of late, with points in 11 straight games. But the players that they acquired from New York haven’t been a tremendous part of that success.
Artem Anisimov has been slowed by injury, playing just 22 games this season. In those games, he only has eight points. You could say almost exactly the same thing about Brandon Dubinsky, who has appeared in only 19 games on the year.
Tim Erixon has been very solid for the Jackets, though. He’s bringing solid defense to the second pairing, though he isn’t putting too many points on the stat sheet. Not that the Blue Jackets are putting up too many goals in general, which has certainly hindered his ability to put up some decent numbers. He’s been the best of the trio, nonetheless.
For the Blue Jackets, you could look at it from the perspective that it gave them more NHL caliber players than they probably would have had, had they held on to Nash, rather than dealing him. None of Anisimov, Dubinsky, or Erixon are stars like Nash, but they’re all very capable players that can be a part of this team moving forward.
Then there’s the matter of the first round pick that the Blue Jackets received from the Rangers in the deal as well. We don’t know who they’re going to select with that pick.
It’s hard to call this trade a win or a loss for the Blue Jackets at this point. The guys that they acquired are doing some solid things and the team is winning games. Would they be having this success that they’re currently having with Nash? Hard to say, but probably not. It will still likely be a few years before we can look back and give this deal an honest assessment, at least from a Columbus point of view.