Rangers Stay Quiet at Deadline, No Nash, Acquire Scott

February 27, 2012

The weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline are fun. The speculation of what players a team will acquire, what deals will be made, the breaking news; it’s all great. But sometimes it doesn’t live up to the hype. Today there were only about 15 trades, with one real headliner.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is staying put in Ohio, at least for the time being. According to the NY Post, the Rangers made one last ditch effort in the dying seconds prior to the deadline, offering up Brandon Dubinsky, 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, prospect Christian Thomas and a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but it was not enough.

In the same report, it is believed Columbus G.M. Scott Howson actually increased his demands, wanting Dubinsky along with either defensemen Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh, either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Boston College star and 2009 first-round pick Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick at this year’s draft.

Following the deadline, Howson said he was approached by Nash asking to be traded, less than two years after signing an eight-year contract extension.

The Rangers did make one minor move, acquiring defenseman John Scott from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2012 fifth-round pick. Scott, 29, has one assist and 49 PIMs in 29 games this season.

At the end of the day, I think this was the right move for the Rangers to make. As I’ve written, Nash is a world-class talent, but he isn’t worth the asking price. Chris Botta of the NY Times Tweeted that this team as is, should be given a shot to show what they could do in the post-season. Nash will still be on the market, and if this team falls short of the Eastern Conference Finals, then go make a move.

Scott won’t be much of a difference maker. He’s a 6-foot 8-inches and about 260 pounds, but doesn’t bring much in terms of offense. 

I still would have liked to see the team add a scorer, but the market just wasn’t there this year. Too many potential movers re-signed with their teams, while others’ asking prices were just too high.

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Reports: Rangers Back Out of Nash Sweepstakes

February 26, 2012

Though there is still about 21 hours remaining before the 3 pm NHL Trade Deadline, reports are trickling in that the Rangers are backing out of trying to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash.

Several reports, including Nick Kypreos of SportsNet.ca, are saying the Rangers’ unwillingness to meet Jackets GM Scott Howson’s demands — rumored to include one of either Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh and top-prospect Chris Kreider — will take them out of the running to land the 27-year-old Nash, who was taken first overall in 2002.

Rumors were the Rangers offered Brandon Dubinsky, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick for Nash.

Although the saga is still alive, this news leaves two teams still linked to Nash: the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose SharksNash’s agent, Joe Resnick, said the hope was to get something done prior to the deadline rather than playing the season out and making a trade in June at the Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

“We’re hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable to the Blue Jackets,” Resnick told TSN’s Bob McKenzie Saturday.

Aside from having the assets to land Nash, teams have to also deal with his cap-hit. Nash is in the second year of an eight-year contract with a cap-hit of $7.8 million annually through 2017-18, with a no-trade clause. In order to be traded, he’d have to agree to the deal.

We’re not out of the water yet, but things are looking good. There’s no deny Nash’s skill, but to justify the price and the cap-hit on a player that has only scored 40 goals once and has never broken 80 points in a single season would be a bad move for this organization. He would help the current squad, especially on the powerplay, but to sell the farm to bring him to New York would be a bad move.

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Kings Acquire Carter, Rangers Interested in Brown?

February 23, 2012

While the biggest domino from the Columbus Blue Jackets still hasn’t fallen, a slightly smaller one did, as Columbus sent Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick in either 2012 or 2013.

“Jeff is a proven goal scorer in our league,” Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement. “He brings goal-scoring abilities, speed and his age he is entering the prime of his career. We also like his versatility as he can play both center and win. We also want to wish Jack Johnson the best going forward.”

This has to be a blessing from God for Carter, who made it known that he was crushed when the Philadelphia Flyers traded him to Columbus last summer. He’ll now be reunited with former Flyers teammate and friend Mike Richards.

At the same time, how bad do you feel for Johnson, going from a decent team in Los Angeles to a God-awful team in Columbus. Ouch.

How does this relate to the Blueshirts? Well, with Carter, who as Lombardi said could play wing or center, it frees them up to shed some salary and deal captain Dustin Brown. The Rangers may see Brown as a cheaper option than Rick Nash. Brown has topped 20 goals in four of his six total seasons, and has 14 thus far this year. He carries a $3.175 million cap hit, per CapGeek.

Could Brandon Dubinsky and a first-round pick be enough to acquire Brown? Possibly. According to CapGeek, the Kings have enough space to add about $2.6 million. That number would leave them with about $1.6 million if they take on Dubinsky and his $4.2 million average.

Lombardi said he has no other trades lined up at the moment, but that could change very quickly.

It’s tough to choose who you’d rather have between Brown and Dubinsky. Even with the poor season, Dubinsky is loved by Rangers fans. I don’t think Dubinsky is as bad as his goal production says, and we’ve seen what he could do. Brown, though, is cap-friendly and has a shorter contract. He’s a New Yorker and his style of play would fit in perfectly with the Rangers.

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LeBrun Calls Rangers Front Runners

February 22, 2012

As a guest on TSN today, ESPN NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun was asked who he believed would land the big fish of the NHL Trade Deadline: Rick Nash. His answer? The New York Rangers.

He added that the Rangers are actually holding up other potential deals to see what happens with Nash, though how true that is is unknown.

Although LeBrun’s remarks will make headlines in Ranger land, both TSN analysts Bob McKenzie and Daren Dreger said he’d stay in Columbus or go the San Jose Sharks.

The Nash stuff is just getting bizarre at this point. I usually love trade season, but now I just want it to end. 

In the end, I don’t believe Nash will come here because I don’t think the Rangers are willing to part with too many of their top prospects, and that’s a good thing.

People saying the Jackets will have to lower their price are wrong. Nash isn’t a UFA. He’s there for the next six years. The Jackets could wait for the absolute perfect trade to ship out the only superstar that franchise has ever known. The notion that the Jackets have their backs against the wall is just untrue.

To move a player like Nash you have to get the return that your fanbase will say, ‘You know what? They made the right move.’ Rushing it to acquire Brandon Dubinsky and some prospects isn’t the right move for them, and in the end I don’t believe the Rangers will be willing to part with enough pieces to acquire Nash. I’ve been wrong before, though.

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Dreger: Rangers Are Frontrunners for Nash

February 20, 2012

Well, more Rick Nash trade talk. This time, is Darren Dreger from TSN stating the Philadelphia Flyers are out of the Nash mix, and the Rangers have taken over as the frontrunners to land the 27-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets forward before Monday’s trade deadline.

Running out of things to say here. There have been so many rumored packages the Jackets want that it’s getting difficult to keep track. If Glen Sather could somehow find a way to keep Chris Kreider I could get behind the trade. It would be tough to lose a player like Brandon Dubinsky, but you have to give to get, and Nash is no doubt an upgrade over the Alaskan native.

There is just something about that cap hit and its implications down the road when many of the team’s core young players are due for raises in the coming seasons. I still don’t believe this team needs a big shakeup, but like all other bloggers and pundits, it’s out of my hands. Just have to hope for the best.

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Rangers Edge Nash, Blue Jackets in OT 3-2

February 19, 2012

The undertone of Sunday night’s game was Rick Nash visiting New York where he could be playing at this time next week. But tonight, he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and even though it took overtime, the Rangers walked away with a 3-2 overtime victory on a game-winning goal by Derek Stepan just seconds into the extra period.

The Rangers dominated the opening stanza, and walked away with a 1-0 lead on a goal by Brad Richards, off a drop-pass from Carl Hagelin. It was Richards’ 18th goal of the season. The Rangers outshot the Blue Jackets 10-4, and completely controlled the puck from start to finish.

The Jackets tied the game in the second period on the powerplay after Marian Gaborik was called for high-sticking. Columbus’ Derek Brassard‘s slapshot beat Henrik Lundqvist for his 11th goal of the season. Late in the second period, the Rangers took the lead when Artem Anisimov buried a loose puck outside the crease, after Dan Girardi‘s slapshot missed the net and skidded slowly back in front.

The Rangers appeared to take a 3-1 lead in the dying seconds of the second period when Michael Del Zotto beat goaltender Chris Mason, but after further review, it was determined time had expired, even though the television clocks showed .01 remaining on the clock. The NHL said that is not the official clock, and the goal was disallowed.

New York held onto the 2-1 lead none other than Nash scored to tie it with 1:33 left to send the game to overtime, when Stepan completed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe pass from Del Zotto and Gaborik to give the Rangers the 3-2 win.

  • Beautiful play to end the game. I think all Rangers fans have come to love the team’s blue-collar style, but plays like that are always welcomed. The team deserved to win this game, and deserved the fate they got.
  • How wasn’t Del Zotto a star of the game? You could make the case he should have been the first, which somehow went to Ryan Callahan, who finished with zero points on the night. I love Callahan, but Del Zotto should have gotten the nod.
  • The NHL has to get its stuff together with the clock issue. It makes absolutely no sense that the game clock isn’t the official clock. It’s 2012; how is this an issue?
  • The powerplay continues to be an issue. Enough said.
  • Gorgeous pass by Hagelin on the Richards goal. The kid is getting better and better.
  • Lundqvist didn’t get a lot of work, but his save on Jeff Carter was gorgeous.
  • I loved the “We Don’t Want You” chant from the fans. Not sure if it would have any affected on him, but I’m sure Nash didn’t appreciate it.
  • Nothing else to say tonight. It was a pretty boring game, and the dead crowd reflected it.
  • It’s off to Pittsburgh for a matchup with the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin on Tuesday.

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Blue Jackets Scouts At Whale Game

February 19, 2012

Teams sending scouts to high school, college, minor and pro league games isn’t a big deal. But when an NHL teams sends scouts to another squad’s minor league affiliate amid trade speculations, it will cause some buzz.

So when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent an advisor to take in the Connecticut Whale game this past evening, eyebrows will no doubt raise.

If you’ve lived under a rock the past week, Jackets’ star Rick Nash has been placed on the trading block, and the Rangers are among the teams Nash has stated he’d waive his no-trade clause to be sent to.

Nash is an unquestionable talent, and has been since he entered the league about eight years ago. Analysts have said if the Blueshirts are able to acquire him, they could be thought of as the Cup favorite.

But his talents won’t come cheap, with rumors suggesting it could take Brandon Dubinsky, possibly Carl Hagelin, top-prospect Chris Kreider and a 1st-round pick to land the Canadian forward, who carries a cap-hit of $7.8 million through the 2017-18 season.

The price is just too high, especially when looking down the road, with players such as Michael Del ZottoDerek Stepan, and Ryan McDonagh all due for raises either this year or next. This team has 14 regulation losses and it’s nearly March. Let’s see what they could in April, May and hopefully June, and keep the cap space for July.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia