Columbus Blue Jackets Rumors: Will Rick Nash Be Traded?

After months of speculations and predictions, the Rick Nash trade saga has not budged. Nash is a 9-year NHL power forward who has single handedly carried the Blue Jackets franchise on his back since he was picked #1 overall by Columbus in 2002.

Given that Nash has averaged just under 61 points a season with the lowly Blue Jackets, who have only made the playoffs once in the past nine years, it is time that Nash move on to greener pastures.  The only problem is that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is asking for a kings ransom in return for their proven power forward. Howson has said that he wants 2 NHL ready forwards and some lucrative draft picks in return for Nash.

The only problem with this is that Nash is 28-years old and entering that interesting age in which many elite NHL forwards average a significant decrease in production. So while Nash has high numbers over the last 9 years, teams that have the pieces to land Nash this off-season are weary to trade away their depth and talent for an aging veteran.

While the Nash trade speculation has been drawn out, there are still several landing spots that may still work for Nash. So without further adue here are the 3 most likely landing sports for Rick Nash this offseason:

Before we get into where Nash is going to go, we have to discuss where he is NOT going to go.  Three teams that have heavily inquired for Nash's services are San Jose, Carolina and Ottawa. The latter two are easy to scratch off the list because Nash has publicly announced that he has no interest in playing for either of those organizations. San Jose is a trickier one, because the Sharks GM Doug Wilson has been in hot pursuit of Rick Nash since the trade deadline. The problem is that the Blue Jackets GM is asking for too much from the Sharks. He wants at least Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe and a few prospects in return for Nash. These pieces are for too rich for Wilson to give up, and they have a shot at Phoenix UFA Shane Doan. so it seems that the Sharks are virtually out of the mix for Rick Nash.

1) Pittsburgh - Despite having a few a big name contract on the books (Sydney Crosby's 10-year deal) and a large one for Evgeni Malkin on the way, the Penguins are still looking to add another big name to their roster. Although the Penguins already traded away one of their largest assets, Jordan Staal, the Penguins may still have the pieces to make this trade work.  If the Penguins offer Paul Martin, a second line winger and defense prospects Joe Morrow and Simon Despres the Penguins could bring Nash to Pittsburgh.

2) Detroit - The Red Wings lost a huge piece of their franchise this summer with the retirement of Niklas Lidstrom. What better way to replace a franchise player than by adding another franchise player. The Red Wings have plenty of money to spend this offseason and may have the players that Columbus is looking for. The Red Wings have several elite prospects that Columbus wants, and forward Teemu Pulkkinen. If the Wings offer two of these three players and Johan Franzen or Valtteri Filppula, the Blue Jackets will likely move Nash to Detroit.

3) Columbus - Given the immense asking price by Howson, it is entirely likely and very plausible that Rick Nash will remain in Columbus. Although Rick Nash may be miserable in Columbus, the asking price might make Nash virtually immovable. If the Blue Jackets do decide to keep him, expect Nash to either holdout on his contract and demand a trade or to continue to play uninspired hockey for a team that he knows has no short-term success plan. While the latter may seem like a miserable way to spend a career, he can look on the bright side and realize that he is making $38.7 million over the next 5 seasons to play terrible hockey. If Nash does holdout on his contract, expect Howson to considerably drop the asking price for Nash and cut his losses all together.

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