Monday, June 18, 2012

Is Rick Nash Worth It?

The Sens fan base was taken aback a bit today when we found out via Columbus broadcaster Jeff Rimer that Ottawa has expressed interest in acquiring Rick Nash (18min mark). Again. If you recall GM Bryan Murray had let everyone know previously that he had made a phone call to CBJ but balked at the asking price of our 1st, Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone and a roster player. I have to say I more than concur at Murray's lack of enthusiasm for said deal.

You can't really blame Columbus' GM Scott Howson for shooting for the moon though, he sort of has to with this one. They're a more than struggling franchise in a struggling market, with a star player who has had enough suffering and wants out. It's the GM's job to get as much as he can for him, but in this case the problem is that we all know he wants out and no one is going to pay the dollar twenty five on the dollar that Howson wants for Nash. It's just not happening.

Has he lowered his asking price for Nash considerably? One has to think he has or why would Murray be back with interest again. No doubt that Rick Nash fits our desperate need of a legitimate top 6 forward, one that may become worse should Alfie decide to hang em up in the next few weeks. Hell everyone would agree that he's easily a top 3 guy and would look pretty good skating down the left wing on Spezza's top line, especially when we've seen them dominate together on the international stage already. But is the cost of acquiring him really worth it or is he an overrated 2nd tier superstar NHLer? That's the real question you have to ask yourself. While he shown flashes of the former, gun to my head I'm siding with the latter.

Rick Nash is signed through 2017-18 with a cap hit of 7.8 million dollars per season, which makes him one of the highest paid players in the league. Another roadblock is that while his cap hit is 7.8 per season, the actual dollars that need to be paid to him escalate as the contract proceeds, with the last 4 years being 7.9 x 2, then 8 million and 8.2 million. Those are the real salaries we'd be responsible for and the Euge may not be interested in signing those kind of cheques for a guy who ranked 59th in league scoring last season with just 59 points. And I can't say I blame him. Nick Foligno by comparison had 47 points for 1.55 million. Nash doesn't seem worth it when you hear that does he?

Let's forget about the salary for a minute though shall we and focus on the Nash the player. He's a 6'4, 220lb left winger, who has elite scoring talent, or does he? The 2002 first overall pick has now played 9 full NHL seasons and has topped out at 41 goals at his peak. In fact he's only hit the 40 goal mark twice in his career. To be fair, he's had 5 other season where he's hit the 30 goal plateau, a couple of those were in the high 30's too.

Also in the interest of fairness, Nash has never played with someone who's even close to the talent level of Jason Spezza. Can't you just see giggles streaking down the ice and making saucer passes to Nash for the sexy one timer goal like the Spezza-Heatley combo in their heyday? I can picture it, hell I'm almost hoping for it because if we have any hope of being a contender in the next few seasons, we do need more consistent scoring options and Nash would definitely bring that to the table. Nash, who just turned 28 a few days ago and Spezza, who just turned 29 are both entering their prime as hockey players and in that sense Nash may be worth it, depending on the asking price.

When it comes down to it, I don't think Melnyk or Murray will worry that much about the salary of Nash, it is just money after all and we all know that the Euge is uber competitive type of guy. What's likely to stand in the way is the assets necessary for the Blue Jackets to part with a talent like Nash. When you add up the cap room that would be taken up, which is a significant point in the modern NHL and the pieces needed to acquire him, it just doesn't make sense for the Sens or really any team to pick him up.

You could maybe live with one or the other, but both? It just isn't worth paying someone 7.8 for 6 more years AND giving up multiple blue chip pieces for a guy who's never proven to be a prime time player. Is Nash good? Absolutely. Better than average? Without a doubt. But Columbus is demanding far too much for a player everyone knows wants out of a bad situation. He isn't Sydney Crosby after all, he isn't even Steven Stamkos at this point, a guy who's surpassed him production wise and is only 22 years old with a lower cap hit of 7.5.

Would I give up the kind of assets CBJ wants for Nash for Stamkos? In a second. I wouldn't even think about saying no, but for Nash I can't help but feel it isn't nearly worth what we'd be buying. Acquiring Nash is just a rumor at this point and let's hope it stays that way. If Nash was an UFA come July 1st, I wouldn't even want the Sens to offer him the 7.8 he currently gets and that's with us not having to give up a thing to get him.

I say all that to say this. If the Sens do somehow manage to acquire Nash this offseason, I instantly take back every bad thing I said about him and can't wait to watch his 60 goal season. Welcome to Ottawa Rick, maybe, maybe not.

Thoughts on the Sens looking to acquire Rick Nash?

1 comment:

Ben said...

Nash would make the team better, and I would rather play with him than against him.

He has brought it in big games playing for Team Canada. He's played on a lousy team his entire career and made the playoffs only once, and I think that's the fault of Blue Jackets management, not his. I personally think he's the type of guy, a big strong power forward, that will be a difference maker in the playoffs and could help Ottawa immensely.

Sure he's expensive, but the Sens have tons of cap room, even after Karlsson gets signed. I'm not shedding a tear for Mr. Melnyk cutting a cheque to Nash, he can well afford it. Most top players these days get locked up to long term deals, so it's not like Ottawa would have an opportunity to sign someone else. And let's be honest, I love my city but Ottawa is generally not the first choice for most NHL players. If Nash agrees to go to Ottawa, that's a coup for the team and its fans.

Ottawa is rich in prospects and prospects don't always work out. You're hoping a guy like Stone would turn out as good as Nash, but you never know.

There are positives and negatives like you pointed out, but for me the pros outweigh the cons. Nash is a franchise player. The city would buzz with excitement and Nash jerseyes would fly off the shelves if it happened. The team would be more dangerous and a bigger threat to win the Cup. Without knowing what exactly the final price tag would be, I'll trust Murray not to overspend and say it's worth it.