Which teams could bid for Columbus captain Rick Nash? Are the Oilers planning a trade deadline “fire sale”?
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports Rick Nash’s agent claims the Blue Jackets contacted him this past weekend to determine if he’d be willing to waive his movement clause to facilitate a trade. Among the teams believed interested in Nash are the NY Rangers, Los Angeles, San Jose, Toronto and Montreal. It’s believed the Jackets could seek “a combination of young, proven players, high-end prospects and draft picks in return”, but Portzline reports trades of such magnitude have sketchy histories, pointing to the poor returns of the Joe Thornton, Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk trades, which didn’t work out for the clubs trading those players.
TORONTO SUN: Mike Zeisberger believes the Blue Jackets asking price for Nash makes him too expensive for the Maple Leafs, much higher than, say, offering James Reimer and a first round pick. Zeisberger also cited the difficulty of absorbing Nash’s rich contract, plus his no-movement clause allowing him control over which team he can be dealt to.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks expressed concern the type of return the Rangers would need to part with to land Nash could alter the team’s currently successful makeup, and not for the better. “It is likely Columbus GM Scott Howson has asked for Derek Stepan and/or Ryan McDonagh in addition to Kreider, a first-rounder and perhaps Dubinsky. Artem Anisimov, Carl Hagelin and Michael Del Zotto — in other words, pretty much the entire stable — are also potential targets.”
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Bucky Gleason doubts the Sabres will be able to land Nash, as acquiring him would still leave the Sabres short at center, and Nash would need the presence of a playmaking center to convince him Buffalo is a place of promise.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it would be a mistake for the Rangers to trade for Nash, as the return could do potential harm to the strong team chemistry they’re currently enjoying. If the Leafs want Nash, the bidding starts with Reimer, Colborne, Schenn, and either Kadri or Gunnarson. Still feel comfortable about making that move, Leafs fans? I know I wouldn’t. I doubt the Sabres and Canadiens are on Nash’s wish list. The Canucks have a promising goalie in Cory Schneider which would certainly entice the Blue Jackets, but I suspect the Canucks prefer to “tweak” heading into the deadline, rather than dramatically shake things up. I’ve heard the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins mentioned as trade destinations, but the Flyers need a strong presence on their blueline, not another scoring forward, while the Bruins, like the Rangers, probably don’t want to risk significantly altering their roster makeup.
That leaves the Kings and Sharks, who have the cap space, and perhaps the willingness, to bid seriously for Nash’s services.That being said, there’s no guarantee the Jackets will get an offer to their liking, or could move him at the deadline. They might prefer instead to wait until the June entry draft, when there will be more teams with more cap space and a willingness to deal. That’s usually when players like Nash, who carry expensive, multi-year contracts, tend to get dealt in today’s salary cap world.
TSN.CA: reports Edmonton Oilers winger Ales Hemsky would like to re-sign with the club, but to a long-term contract extension.
EDMONTON SUN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: report Oilers GM Steve Tambellini “all but guaranteed” forwards Ryan Smyth and Sam Gagner won’t be shopped at the trade deadline. Jim Matheson also reported Tambellini wouldn’t say if he’s getting any interest from teams with struggling goalies (like the Blackhawks) in Nikolai Khabibulin. He said he had “no plans” to trade Khabibulin, but believed he’ll get “a lot of calls” regarding a lot of different players.Matheson also reports Smyth would like to sign a contract extension with the Oilers, preferably before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Hemsky wants a long-term deal, he’s probably as good as gone. As for the rest, I don’t believe Tambellini has any plans to move any of them. Sure, that could change, but he’d have to get some terrific offers to alter his current plans.