Rick Nash: Better Dead Than Red?

Would Filppula and Franzen be enough of a return to offset seeing Rick Nash pulling on the Winged Wheel? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Late last night, Red Wings beat report Ansar Khan reported that Detroit made a "big pitch" for Rick Nash, including potentially offering up forwards Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula,

The response? Nothing at all. Dead silence.

For Detroit, the deal would make sense because they have a wealth of talent up front (the problem is their back end, given their strikeout for Ryan Suter), and can offer the proven NHL forwards that Scott Howson wants.

Franzen, on paper, seems like a good piece to center the trade around. With the exception of an injury shortened 2011 season, he's been a consistent 40+ point scorer for the last six years, and he's on a contract that will lock him up through 2020 at just $3.95 million per season.

On the other hand, Franzen is already 32 years old - if people are bashing Nash's numbers as "past his prime", what do you say about a Mule who has some flat teeth?

Filppula doesn't seem like a bad piece either - the 28 year old is just coming off a career high 66 point season and he's been on a decent upward curve since breaking into the Wings' lineup in 2006-2007...but his current deal will leave him a UFA at the end of this coming season, meaning he could easily decide to walk. That's a risky gamble if Howson isn't confident about securing his services.

Perhaps it would help if Holland also offered a prospect like Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar, but that may also swing things back towards Howson asking for too rich a price.

Finally, there's the psychological factor - this wouldn't just be sending Nash within the division, where the team would see him six times a season (barring realignment) - it would be sending him to Detroit. The big bad brother who has dominated this club so many times since they came into existence.

For a team dealing with a torrent of PR headaches the last two years, I'm not sure this would be a deal the fanbase could forgive, especially if Howson is perceived as having "lost" the trade.

But with Rick Nash controlling his destination, the Blue Jackets may be left with a situation where the winger says "Detroit, and Detroit only."

I don't blame Howson for not returning Ken Holland's call. I don't blame him for looking for any other option he can arrange. But as we get closer and closer to training camp, he may not be left with any other choices.

What then?

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