Admittedly, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson had a gun to his head that was being held by his captain, Rick Nash. However, after months of speculation and trade demands, the return that the Jackets received for the best player in the history of the franchise was simply not enough.
The Rangers dealt over-paid and underproductive centre Brandon Dubinsky, forward Artem Anisimov, defensive prospect Tim Erixon and a first round pick for one of the top power forwards in the game today.
And Rick Nash is indeed still in that upper echelon, despite dwindling stats. His production might have been down in the past couple of seasons, but look at the franchise he had been mired in. He hasn’t had a centre to play with in his career and has had the club on his shoulders since he was 18 years old. He has a great combination of speed, skill and hands that will be a tremendous asset to the Rangers.
Dysfunctional is the only word I can find that properly outlines the Blue Jackets. And this trade doesn’t help them much in removing that tag.
Say what you will about how Nash held the club hostage by using his no-trade clause to limit the possible destinations to no more than a handful, but that is the risk you run when you hand out the no-trade clause, which Howson gave him in 2010. Howson waited almost 6 months from the time Nash asked for a deal, and this return simply wasn’t enough. How the Rangers escaped this deal without losing one or more of Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto, or Carl Hagelin is mind-boggling.
The bottom line is, Howson has a history with Rangers GM Glen Sather dating back to their Edmonton days, and that relationship may have influenced the final destination for Nash. Perhaps Howson, who has had Columbus spinning its wheels for years, has a side deal with Sather that would give him a job when he gets fired from Columbus.
And judging by this deal, that pink slip could be coming Howson’s way any day now.