With the 2012 NHL trade deadline just a few days away, the talk about which stars will be on the move is really starting to heat up. The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the hottest teams in the rumor hot-stove because of one man; captain Rick Nash.
It isn't just Nash, though. Columbus sees that their chances of making a splash this year or anytime in the near future are gone, and they realize it’s time to dump high-salary contracts.
At some point, Columbus has to put a winner on the ice or be prepared for the relocation of their team. The Blue Jackets fans love their club, so ownership should show that love back by moving these players.
There was a time in the NHL where the captain of your team and the face of your franchise was not only safe from trade rumors, but safe from actual trades. As the Philadelphia Flyers showed when they moved captain Mike Richards to Los Angeles this summer, no one is safe anymore.
Nash has been a perennial All Star in Columbus and has been the perfect face of a team that has struggled since joining the NHL. Nash has played at such a high level for so long without success that it can’t help but wear on him.
ESPN is reporting that the New York Rangers, as well as several other teams, are kicking the tires on what could be a potential blockbuster deal. Another team to consider could be Philadelphia because of their recent trade history with the Blue Jackets.
If Columbus is serious about rebuilding from the ground up, moving Nash now will get the team the most in return for his services.
As hard as it is to stomach having to pay Jeff Carter over $5 million a year through 2022, if he ever returns to his 30-goal scoring plateau that he reached three straight seasons in Philadelphia, he will be one of the more underpaid scorers in the NHL.
With all of that said, Columbus has to get out from underneath this contract as soon as possible. While no team in their right mind would want to just eat his contract, the Toronto Maple Leafs were considering taking on the sniper if the price was right.
Just 21 points in 36 games has the forwards' stock as low as it has ever been, so Columbus needs to move him for almost anything they can get. If they are serious about rebuilding, Carter’s contract will be a headache they have to avoid.
Another contract that Columbus has to move if they plan on shifting into full rebuild mode is that of power forward Antoine Vermette. At $3.75 million per season, the Blue Jackets need to find a much better way to spend that money.
With Vermette’s experience in the NHL, playoff teams or those on the cusp of contending will be looking to add grit and offense at the forward positions. Vermette is all of that and more if you play him on a third line.
Vermette fits with the style they play in Columbus, but this is definitely a case of the money just not lining up in a way that would allow the team to keep him.
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