NHL Trade Rumors: Why Rick Nash to Toronto Maple Leafs Deal is a Pipe Dream

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 24:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 24, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Blue Jackets 3-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There is no question that general manager Brian Burke and the Toronto Maple Leafs would love to get their hands on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash, but the odds of striking a deal simply aren't in the Leafs' favor.

According to Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star, hockey analyst Bill Watters suggested that the Leafs could send forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri and defensemen Luke Schenn and Mike Komisarek to the Blue Jackets for Nash and forward Kristian Huselius.

It wouldn't be the worst haul for Columbus, but I can't help but think that the Blue Jackets should be able to get more for a player who has scored at least 32 goals in four straight seasons. Nash is a consistent producer as he is pretty much on pace to equal his production of the past two years, when he scored 67 and 66 points, respectively.

Nash is basically charged with carrying the woeful Blue Jackets at this point, and while his numbers may not be eye-popping, he is precisely the type of player the Leafs need. At 6'4" and 216 lbs., Nash is a true power forward who is capable of taking over a game with his power and puck control.

Columbus likely wouldn't be completely against trading their captain since he is essentially the captain of a sinking ship right now, but getting a fair return is of the utmost importance. Nash is clearly the team's best asset, so if the Blue Jackets are going to start a rebuild, then Nash has to bring in a king's ransom.

One positive aspect of dealing Nash and Huselius is that it frees up a lot of cap space for the Blue Jackets. Nash is locked in at a hefty $7.8 million cap hit through the 2014-15 season and Huselius' $4.75 million contract expires at season's end. The problem, however, is that Columbus would be taking some needless salary back in the proposed deal.

The biggest albatross in the trade is certainly Komisarek. When the Maple Leafs signed him at a $4.5 million cap hit a few seasons ago he was a premier defensive defenseman in the league, but now he is an injury-prone shell of his former self as he has yet to be a "plus" player with the Leafs.

On top of that, while Grabovski is a nice little player coming off a 29-goal campaign, he is an unrestricted free agent at season's end, so the Blue Jackets will have to go through the drama of trying to re-sign him.

As a rookie, Schenn was touted around the league as the next great shut-down defenseman, but that hasn't come to fruition. While he is a decent shot blocker and checker, Schenn may not be worth the $3.6 million cap hit he carries through the 2014-15 season.

Kadri may be the most enticing part of the deal as he has a ton of potential as a scorer and is beginning to show it, but he is a restricted free agent following the season, so his cap hit is likely to increase considerably.

Ultimately, if the Blue Jackets are going to trade Nash, then they need to get fair value and advantageous cap numbers coming back. Columbus would get a couple good players back in this deal, but two are pending free agents and one is essentially a useless player in Komisarek.

Toronto may have the young talent to bring in Nash if it truly wants him thanks to the likes of Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin and Jake Gardiner, but if the Leafs are intent on dumping their garbage and expiring contracts on Columbus, then Nash to Toronto certainly won't be happening.