McGreevy: Rick Nash saga not getting any easier to handle for Howson

By: Matt McGreevy, Contributing Writer
@mcmatthew4

(BridgetDS/Flickr)

If the Rick Nash dilemma wasn’t hard enough to solve already, a couple new variables entered the equation at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft when Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan asked for a trade and Philadelphia dealt James van Riemsdyk.

Ryan’s request came as a bit of a shock to the Ducks and the rest of the league as the 25-year old winger’s contract does not expire until 2014, though there was some question about his future with the club last season before Randy Carlyle was let go. Moreover, his wish to be moved hinged on a feeling of insecurity that he claims to had played with for the past year.

While Anaheim was upset with the way Ryan publicly handled the situation, GM Bob Murray is now in a position of power. The Ducks own a player with a similar skill set to Nash, though he is three years younger and the price to acquire him is much lower.

According to Ryan, moving to Philadelphia would be ideal, though Columbus GM Scott Howson would probably prefer the forward stays in Anaheim. The Flyers, after all, were top suitors for Nash before Ryan complicated matters.

Philadelphia would probably favor a deal for Ryan rather than a deal for Nash considering their difference in age and cost of acquisition. Ryan’s outward praise of the Flyers adds to the attraction, in addition to them loosing another young, skilled and energetic forward in JVR.

However, the news from the Ducks’ organization is not the only setback the Blue Jackets have endured. Columbus absorbed a blow when commissioner Gary Bettman announced that Jordan Staal would join his brother Eric in Carolina. The trade essentially put the Hurricanes out of the bidding for Nash. One day later, the Flyers sent van Riemsdyk to the Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn in a move that showed Philadelphia GM Ed Holmgren would no longer hold one of his main trade assets to barter with Howson.

It appears that Nash will be traded sometime after free agency opens on July 1. His most viable destinations include New York and the Ottawa, however according to The Columbus Dispatch, the Senators did not make the approved list of teams Nash submitted prior to the trade deadline.

Though Nash approving a trade to Ottawa would contradict his agent’s comments that no team would be added to the approved list, the 28-year old winger’s willingness to end the grueling, drawn-out process may override his reluctance to play for the Senators.

Trading Nash to Ottawa could bring a slew of prospects and to the Blue Jackets’ organization. Perhaps the most enticing part of negotiating with the Senators is the prospect of acquiring forwards Mika Zibanejad and Nick Foligno who would fulfill Howson’s wish bolster the team’s offensive production.

If Nash denies a move to Ottawa or Columbus still wishes to deal with New York, Howson may be in a better position now than he was in at the trade deadline.  Because the Blue Jackets selected a top defenseman in Murray, they may be more likely to back off their demands for one of the Rangers’ blue liners. If this is the case then Howson could be more apt to strike a deal.

The madness will resume in July. For now, Howson sits with a fish on the line waiting for a team to bite.

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