After months of will he or won’t he, the Columbus Blue Jackets have finally pulled the trigger on a Rick Nash trade, sending him to the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets will get forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon, and a the Rangers’ 2013 first round pick. For more info about the trade, and how this will affect both teams going forward, continue after the jump.
The Blue Jackets have spent the better part of a year wondering when and where Rick Nash would be traded. Most people thought it would be a done deal at the trade deadline last season, when the Rangers supposedly offered Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, JT Miller, Christian Thomas, and a 2012 1st round pick. While that deal seems to have brought a lot more back to Columbus than the actual completed deal, it was full of prospects, and not NHL ready players. While Columbus appears to have gotten less this time, it’s because Rangers GM Glen Sather would not give up prized assets like Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, or Chris Kreider. Instead, the Blue Jackets essentially get a new second line (Dubinsky and Asinimov) and a defenseman who has a lot of potential to be a top 4 blueliner in Swedish born Tim Erixon. The one good thing Columbus got out of this deal was a 2013 first rounder, which has a lot more value than a pick in this year’s draft. The 2013 draft class is expected to be one of the best in years, possibly even the best since the 2003 draft, which brought stars like Patrice Bergeron, Marc Andre Fleury, Ryan Kesler, and Shea Weber to the league. While Columbus brought quantity into the fold, it doesn’t appear that they got the quality that they thought they would by holding out this long.
As for the New York Rangers, they get the player they’ve been coveting since Nash said he wanted out of Columbus. They didn’t have to give up any of their top prospects/players, and they bring in a scoring forward, which is the supposed missing piece from last year’s team. The Rangers will also get a third round pick back from Columbus, as well as a minor league defenseman (UPDATE: Steven Delisle) (the trade would put the Blue Jackets over the 50 contract maximum, so somebody had to be shipped out or cut to create a roster spot). With Marian Gaborik expected to be out up to six months due to offseason shoulder surgery, Nash gives the Rangers a top line scorer to fill the gap. The trade should keep the Rangers at, or near, the top of the Eastern Conference for the next few years. The only real question for New York is whether Nash will produce come playoff time. The Blue Jackets only made the playoffs once, getting swept by the Red Wings in the spring of 2009. Many people feel Nash is possibly overrated. He had only 59 points last season, and has never topped 80 points in a season. Whether it was a case of location and lack of talent will soon be known, as Nash will find himself the center of attention in New York once the season begins.
While it may seem like Columbus didn’t get much back, in all reality, GM Scott Howson was in a bind. His franchise player, and the only star in Blue Jacket’s history, wanted out, and the rest of the league knew it. In the end, Howson was in a bind, and had to finally act. He needed to get what he could, and appears to have finally just given up. Expect for nearly everyone to call for his head in Columbus, although it’s absurd that he even has a job still with some of the moves and contracts he’s signed during his tenure. The near future for the Blue Jackets could be rough. They have very little top flight talent, if any, and the fact that Columbus will host the All Star Game this season (assuming there is a season) is not a consolation prize. The best hope for the future looks to be next year’s draft. Columbus will hold three first round picks in the 2013 entry draft. They hold the Kings’ pick thanks to the Jeff Carter trade, their own, and now the Rangers’ pick. The Blue Jackets’ pick should be quite high, but the other two picks will likely be at the later portion of the round.
In the end, 2012-13 looks like a probable lost season for the Blue Jackets. By shipping out their only superstar, and the first draft pick in the history of the club, Columbus is officially moving forward. The problem is, nobody knows if these moves will create a winning product. Columbus has been in the news heavily for the last six months thanks to Nash. With the Rick Nash trade finally complete, it’s hard to imagine when people will be talking Columbus hockey again. The Blue Jackets are building for the future, but that future is not looking as bright as it did just a few years ago.
Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms. He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long. Look for new articles throughout the week. He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy. If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at email@example.com.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks