Rick Nash Must Score for New York Rangers to Beat Pittsburgh Penguins

By Ross Simon
Rick Nash New York Rangers
Getty Images

We might as well call Rick Nash the largest waste of $7.8 million at this point. Nash, the highest paid player on the New York Rangers by a hefty margin, was acquired in 2012 for Brandon DubinskyArtem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixon and a 2013 first-round draft pick. Nash was brought to Broadway for one purpose, and one purpose only — to score.

When Nash signed his eight-year, $62.4 million deal in the summer of 2010 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, it was as a reward for being the best goal scorer in the NHL. Nash, at that time, was certainly worth that contract. For the Blueshirts, though, Nash hasn’t done nearly the scoring that would be required of him to earn such a contract. Playing on the top line along with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider/Martin St. Louis (since Kreider has been injured for the final stretch of the season), Nash has only managed to score a paltry 39 points in the regular season. That’s good for sixth-best on the team behind the likes of Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh, a third-line center and top pair defenseman respectively. Although Nash did lead the Rangers in goals during the regular season with 26, you must look at that as due in large part to Stepan, who had 40 assists which tied with Mats Zuccarello  for best on the team.

In the postseason, Nash hasn’t been able to much of anything that we could call “production”. Nash does have four points, good for third best on the team, but he has played the entire postseason on a line with snipers St. Louis and Stepan. Let’s also give Nash credit; he does lead the team in shots on goal in the postseason with 30. But if the Rangers expect to advance to the next round, it must be Nash who steps up and finds the back of the net.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are too good for the Rangers to have their best goal scorer not score any goals. If Nash expects to be paid like a superstar, as he currently is, then he must perform like one too. Next offseason it’s widely expected that the Rangers will be forced to amnesty center Brad Richards and his $6.67 million salary cap hit, but one has to wonder: Why aren’t they considering the same for Nash?

Ross Simon is a contributor to Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @RossSimonSays or “Like” him on Facebook!

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