Monday, July 23, 2012

Rick Nash!

Welcome to New York, Rick Nash! We trust that unlike Shea Weber, you'll enjoy living in the city.

Though the official trade call hasn't been made to the league yet, all sources seem to point to the trade being Dubinsky, Anisimov, Erixon, and a 1st-rounder to Columbus, in exchange for Rick Nash, some yet-unnamed AHL defenseman, and a conditional 3rd-rounder. Let's be clear: this trade is a steal for the Rangers, on all fronts.

NHL-ready value: Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov vs. Rick Nash. Clearly, this is where the Rangers win big; there's not a lot of cause to explain this. Player-for-player, you'd rather have a Nash than a Dubi and an Anisimov. Sad to see those guys go, as neither is bad at all, but come on.

Prospects: Of course, this is where Columbus makes up a little ground. But as it turns out, it's not much. We swap a 1st-rounder for a 3rd-rounder, which is of course giving the edge to the Blue Jackets, but we're discussing completely unknown players; neither of those picks is gonna be a top-5 overall. And we swap Tim Erixon for a defensive AHL-er named Steve Delisle, who probably isn't as good as Tim Erixon. Erixon probably has a decent upside, but it's all unproven. You'll never hear me complain about giving up someone who has the potential to be great for someone who is already very good.

Incidentally, the condition on the 3rd-rounder is that we give it back if we make it to the Cup Finals. If Nash pushes us to the Cup Finals, do you think anyone's gonna be complaining about a lost pick?

Price: Cry cry cry, Rick Nash costs a cap hit of $7.8 million, blah blah blah. Check out what happens when you use a little math before you complain about math, though. Dubinsky's cap hit is $4.2 million. Anisimov's is $1.875 million. Erixon's is $1.75 million. Mr. Calculator just called and told me that adds up to $7.825 million. So, assuming Erixon plays in the league next season either way, the Rangers actually save money under the cap next year.

(And Nash is only 34 when this contract ends - we're not exactly talking Brad Richards-length, here. At 28, Nash is in his prime, not on his way out of it.)

So I'm just not interested in hearing Ranger fans complain because they think every contract given to anyone over the age of 25 is Scott Gomez.

All in all, the Rangers' third and fourth lines got worse this off-season, and their first and second lines got better. I'm sad to see all those great character middle-of-the-pack guys go (Dubinsky, Mitchell, Prust, Fedotenko, Anisimov). But let's look at who's left, even assuming the Rangers make no further moves (sorry that I've flipped some wingers, it made organization easy):

Gaborik - Richards - Nash
Hagelin - Stepan - Callahan
Pyatt - Boyle - Kreider
Rupp - Halpern - Asham

All of last season, we talked about how the Rangers were a team full of 2nd- and 3rd-liners, and about how the coach didn't trust his bottom 6 enough. We all assumed the solution was that he had to learn to coach differently. Maybe instead, the solution was to give him a team that suits him better. When I look at this lineup, I'm inclined to give ice time the way Torts does, too. Maybe this is the team Torts needs, to take them to the next level.

And now, imagine if the Rangers can still land Shane Doan (there's plenty of cap space, by the way). This could be a lot worse, is all I'm saying.

The only problem now is that there's gonna be a work stoppage, and we won't actually get any hockey.

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