McGreevy: Rick Nash finally a New York Ranger

Rick Nash has averaged 35-31-66 every 82 games over his nine-season career. (BridgetDS/Flickr)

By: Matthew McGreevy, Contributing Writer
@mcmatthew4

Columbus, OH – In the past few weeks, finding a Rick Nash jersey on a clearance rack was all too common. It was an ominous sign for a fan base centered upon its franchise player.

Then, after months of waiting, the inevitable became reality as Blue Jackets faithful were assured that No. 61 had played his final game in union blue.

News of the long-awaited trade broke on Monday afternoon as TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie revealed details of the swap.

Artem Anisimov (Tim Kolupanowich/CM)

The Blue Jackets acquired forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixson, and a first-round draft pick from the New York Rangers in exchange for Nash, minor-leaguer Steve Delisle, and a conditional third-round draft pick.

It was a deal that presumably hinged on Scott Howson’s reluctance to devalue his franchise player.

Nash publicly asked for a trade at February’s trade deadline but was not moved because the team felt it was not offered the right pieces in return.

However, when free agency began and big-name forwards such as Bobby Ryan and Shane Doan announced their intentions to test the market, teams seeking to boost their scoring without breaking the bank were given more room to negotiate. No longer were they forced to pursue Nash and adhere to Howson’s wish list.

Juggling Nash’s trade request and maintaining his own steep asking price ultimately proved to be too difficult for Howson as he blinked in a stare-off with Rangers GM Glen Sather. However, while Columbus did not land key assets such as Ryan McDonagh and Chris Kreider, it did add some notable talent to the front lines.

Anisimov and Dubinksy will probably be among the Blue Jackets’ top-six forwards.

Brandon Dubinsky (Tim Kolupanowich/CM)

Last season, Anisimov registered 36 points in 79 games while Dubinsky logged 34 points in 77 games. Both players will more than likely increase their offensive production with Columbus, as they will see more ice time than they did with the Blueshirts.

Defensive prospect Tim Erixson may have a more difficult time breaking into the lineup. He spent last season in the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League where he notched 33 points in 52 games. Erixson is considered a highly touted prospect, though his history of attitude problems may tempt Howson to flip the 21-year old to another squad with hopes of landing another forward.

How the Erixson acquisition pans out could make or break the deal. Dubinksy and Anisimov are two pieces to the puzzle, but Rick Nash leaves an enormous void when looking at the big picture.

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