Since last season’s trading deadline Rick Nash’s name was mentioned in New York hockey conversations as much as many members of the team. Even though the Rangers couldn’t make that deal at that time it was clear that he was still on the radar and when they finally landed him it wasn’t much of a surprise.
“It took a long time,” said Rangers GM Glen Sather. “It was (the two teams contact) pretty much continuous since before the trade deadline.”
Nash is a guy who loves hockey. He was loyal to the Blue Jackets and he’s the kind of guy that has that burning desire to succeed flowing through his veins. He can be a very intense competitor and having interviewed him away from the rink I’ve always felt he would be a good fit in New York.
“I was very excited,” Nash stated when he was told about the trade. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity and happy to be a part of something special here. It was a tough period of 5 months but now it’s over.”
Nash was drafted first overall in 2002. That was the second draft that I had the privilege of covering and most forget that the Florida Panthers had the first overall pick and traded with Columbus who then selected Nash. I reminisced about that draft with former Columbus GM and now Sportsnet commentator Doug MacLean (with Shane Malloy on our XM show). He said he met with Jay Bouwmeester and Nash many times before he made that trade and that pick. He was very taken with Nash as a player and a person. The deal MacLean made with Rick Dudley was a conditional first-round pick swap that would occur the next season. Well the next year the Panthers traded their #1 pick and #73 overall pick to Pittsburgh who drafted Marc-Andre Fleury. So the Jackets got a “free” swap in 2002 in order to even get Nash.
“I initially went into Scott Howson’s office and he gave me a game plan that a rebuild was in order. I was there 9 years and was told if I waived my no-trade clause it would help the rebuild,” said Nash.
Brad Richards and Rick Nash played in the 2006 Olympics but Nash quickly pointed out that it’s hard to create chemistry in that short period of time. He’s just happy to be in New York and didn’t even want to speculate how the Rangers might want to use him.
When Sather was asked if the Shea Weber offer sheet got this trade fast tracked he quickly snapped back with, “No, it had nothing to do with this.”
So the Rangers have now replaced Marian Gaborik’s production since his surgery will cause him to miss a significant amount of time next season, unless the season gets delayed with a lockout.
“Gabby will be out until some time until November.”
The Rangers are still shopping and Shane Doan is still on the shopping list as well as another defenseman who will likely be Anton Stralman returning to New York unless something unusual happens since his arbitration hearing is set for July 31st.
*Rick Nash will now look like this in NHL 13
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