Reports of Rick Nash’s love for being in Columbus may have been exaggerated
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone, and one of the biggest moves was one that actually didn’t happen. The big prize of the trade deadline was Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who was being shopped in order to jumpstart the rebuilding process with an influx of prospects and draft picks in a desperation move by the league’s worst team…or at least that’s what everybody thought. Yes, when the Jackets and their 43 points this season put their franchise player on the block, it looked like they were going into full “Plan B” mode. After Monday’s trade deadline, however, the general manager of Columbus, Scott Howson, informed everyone the real reason Rick Nash was being shopped: Rick Nash asked the team to trade him.
Nash has spent his entire career in Columbus and has been the team’s lone consistent star player, scoring at least 17 goals in each of his nine seasons, with 21 goals and 22 assists this season. However, despite Nash has always been lacking any help around him stuck on bad teams all but one brief playoff run. Nash is a 4-time All-Star, the team captain, an Olympic gold medalist for his native Canada in 2010 (and was MVP for Canada’s 2007 gold medal at the World Championships), and has been an NHL goal-scoring champion. For years, he’s expressed a love for playing in Columbus and not having to be in the spotlight of a larger market like his home town of Toronto. However, Howson told the media that it was Nash who approached him in January and asked for a trade. He and his agent provided the team with a select list of teams that he would go to (presumably teams with a better chance at winning Nash a Stanley Cup), but nobody wanted to meet Howson’s asking price to make the move.
“He obviously wants a change,” said Howson, who said he was so surprised when Nash asked to be traded in January that it took time for him to process the request.
Every single team contacted Columbus to engage in talks for Nash, with the Kings, Rangers, Sharks, and Leafs being reported as the most interested clubs. A deal seemed close with New York, but eventually fell apart when the Rangers found Howson’s asking price a bit too steep for their liking. Howson wouldn’t say what exactly what the asking price was for Nash, but he did admit that it was high.
“We were pretty certain we were going to get what we wanted or we weren’t going to trade him,” said Blue Jackets senior adviser Craig Patrick. “We just stuck to that right through the whole time.”
The team will try to move Nash again this summer, once rosters open up and teams have a chance to clear some cap space. Until then, Howson assured the media that Nash’s role on the team wouldn’t change, that he would still be their captain and their leader. However, calling out a star player like this isn’t the usual protocol for a GM, so why throw Nash under the bus?
“I just think it was the right thing to do, it’s the truthful thing to do.”
“It was the thing to do to stop angry Columbus fans from throwing things at me.” With the way Howson has handled the construction of this perennial cellar-dweller, and now his throwing a fan favorite star under the bus, it’s not likely that either he or Nash will be sticking around Columbus this off season.