COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 28: Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets takes the ice before the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on February 28, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
It's no surprise that the Rangers are the destination for Nash, but it remains to be seen what is coming back to Columbus. Did GM Scott Howson back off his demands, or did Rangers GM Glen Sather give in, or was it something in between?
EDIT 1: Dreger reports that Derek Stepan is not included in the deal.
EDIT 2: Dreger now reporting that Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and a first round pick are three of the four assets coming back to Columbus.
At this point, without knowing the fourth asset, it would seem to be an underwhelming return. Erixon is a player who refused to play for Calgary, forcing the Flames to trade him to the Rangers, a team his father played for. Who's to say he won't be a trouble maker in Columbus? He remains a high-end prospect however. As for Dubinsky, he's versatile and will fit in with the likes of R.J. Umberger and Nick Foligno already on the team. The first round pick is token, let's hope the fourth piece is Chris Kreider.
EDIT 3: ...and finally, Dreger reports the fourth and final piece coming back to Columbus is Artem Anisimov.
So Rick Nash is traded to the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round pick.
I have a very hard time accepting Erixon as a piece of the deal. His pouting in Calgary gives me serious pause when it comes to how loyal he'll be to the Jackets. Dubinsky should fit in well, while Anisimov adds some size and skill up the middle. He will likely team with Derick Brassard as the team's top-six centermen.
FINAL EDIT: Bob McKenzie gives us the final details- Nash, Steve Delisle and a conditional third rounder to New York for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round pick. Delisle was a throw-in because of the 50 contract limit, while the third rounder returns to the Jackets if the Rangers make the Cup final.
Contract information, courtesy of Cap Geek:
Dubinsky: Signed through 2014/2015 at a cap hit of $4.2 million per season. UFA July 1st 2015.
Anisimov: Signed through 2012/2013 at a cap hit of $1.875 million per season. RFA July 1st, 2013.
Erixon: Signed through 2013/2014 at a cap hit of $1.75 million per season. Entry level deal. RFA July 1st, 2014.
Providing Erixon makes the team, the Jackets are actually taking on $25,000 per season against the cap. They get a huge break when it comes to term, however, with Nash's contract expiring in 2018, whereas Dubinsky has the longest deal coming back, expiring in 2015.
|Vinny Prospal||Derick Brassard||Cam Atkinson|
|Nick Foligno||Artem Anisimov||Brandon Dubinsky|
|R.J. Umberger||Ryan Johansen||Derek Dorsett|
|Mark Letestu||Derek MacKenzie||Jared Boll|
|Ryan Russell||Colton Gillies|
|James Wisniewski||Jack Johnson|
|Nikita Nikitin||Fedor Tyutin|
|Adrian Aucoin||Ryan Murray|
|Tim Erixon||John Moore|
As you can see, the forwards as currently assembled feature some versatile wingers (Umberger, Dubinsky, Foligno), some players with size (Anisimov, Johansen, Boll, Gillies), some slick offensive players (Atkinson, Brassard, Prospal) and some energetic, hard working players (MacKenzie, Dorsett, Letestu, Russell). The group will have to be greater than the sum of their parts, however, as there isn't a star in the bunch.
For the first time in team history, there is a logjam on defense. With the eight above-mentioned defenders all NHL caliber, not to mention David Savard and Dalton Prout in the AHL, something has to give. I wouldn't be surprised if Howson follows up the Nash deal with a trade that adds a high-end forward to the mix, in exchange for a defenseman or two.I hear a guy in Anaheim may be looking for a new home.
My initial thoughts on the deal are that the Jackets could have got far more in return had Nash's no-trade list been larger. Anisimov is the big piece in my opnion, his talent and size will be the perfect coimpliment to Brassard. He adds more Russian flavor to the team, joining countrymen Nikitin, Tyutin and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Dubinsky, for me, is like an Umby with less hussle. It remains to be seen what he can bring to the Jackets, but he has the talent to pot some goals.
As I mentioned earlier, Erixon bothers me. Not from a talent standpoint- in fact he may be the most talented piece coming back- but from a character standpoint. Will he attempt any foolishness when it comes time to report? Unlikely, but he does have a history of rocking the boat. His stunt to get out of Calgary means he has a lot of work to do to convince fans and management that he is committed. If everything works out, he has the potential to be a stud force on the back end.
The first round pick is a given in most high-end trades. The only issue with the pick coming to Columbus is that it will likely be late in the first round. That said, the Jackets will have three picks (barring trades) in next June's draft. At this point, it is considered to be the deepest draft since 2003, so quantity is a good thing, even if the picks are in the latter part of the round.
At first I was underwhelmed, but the more I think about it, the more I like the deal, given the circumstances. I feel for Howson, he was in a terrible position from the get-go, and did well to add players that can help the team win now, and assets to help the team in the future. It remains to be seen what kind of impact a player who recently held-out, a player who demanded a trade from the team that drafted him, a young Russian and a late first rounder will have, but if nothing else, it feels good to have the Rick Nash saga come to a close.
Best of luck in New York, Rick.