NHL Trade Rumors: Rick Nash & 5 Things to Watch as the Trade Deadline Approaches
The NHL trade deadline is in its final hours as teams jockey and push to make last-minute moves before the clock tolls at 3 p.m. EST.
There have been a lot of headlines this winter as a tight race in the East leaves all but a handful of teams still in playoff contention and a strong West will look to get the upper hand on its opponents.
Here are five things to look forward to as we approach the deadline.
The Uncertain Future of Rick Nash
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There has been no greater talk than about the forward from Columbus all season.
When the Blue Jackets decided to shop around their star and captain, the market went crazy with speculation as every team in contention was interested in adding the All-Star and one of the top players in the game.
The New York Rangers were recently the rumored front-runner, but the asking price of two young defensemen (Michael Del Zotto or Ryan McDonagh) was just too rich for GM Glen Sather and has cooled talks.
Now the future remains unclear with as no team is willing to give up what Columbus wants in return for the player. Nash’s agent Joe Resnick had this to say:
We’re hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets. However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date.
However, both sides are still working diligently to make sure everyone wins so this will still be the hot topic around the league.
The Islanders' Influence
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It has been quite some time since the New York Islanders had any influence on the NHL playoffs, but this year they very well could.
Winger P.A. Parenteau has come around in the last half of month to put up some good numbers: four goals and 10 points in his last nine games. He becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and, at 28 years old, does not figure much into their plans to build around the younger John Tavares.
He is not a star, but he is coming on at the right time and could add some depth to a top side.
In net, goalie Evgeni Nabokov is also at the end of his contract. The Isles have no intentions to deal him, but also have not signed him to a new deal.
With a few teams out there needing a capable netminder, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, if the right trade came across, expect the Islanders to move on it.
Fallout from the Jeff Carter Move
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The Los Angeles Kings made the first big move before the trade deadline, obtaining Columbus center Jeff Carter to give them a much-needed offensive boost. But now they will have to deal with the consequences of the move.
The loss of defender Jack Johnson could alter the makeup of what has been a very good blue line. Being able to find another capable blueliner to fill Johnson’s shoes on the cheap will not be easy, but necessary if they are to make the most of the Carter deal.
Rumors have circled around forward Dustin Brown. Brown has been an exceptional young player, but with Carter now there, it is likely he will be bumped to make room for Mike Richards to reunite with his old teammate.
Right now, it is looking like Brown will stay, but nothing is certain around this time of the season and it could produce an interesting outcome by day's end.
Will Jay Feaster Act on His Threats?
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Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster had some harsh words to say during the second intermission of the Calgary’s game against Phoenix Thursday night:
If we don't show a whole lot more urgency heading into Monday, you (media) guys will be busy as it relates to the goings on in Calgary.
The underperforming Flames currently sit 11th in the West, but only three points out of eighth place. However, they are going to need upgrades if they want to make that push.
Unfortunately for Calgary they don’t have many parts of value. Outside of Miikka Kiprusoff or Jarome Iginla, they don’t have any interesting prospects. Dealing either of those two would also be more detrimental to a playoff push than anything.
Feaster’s words may seem like an empty threat when you look at it logically, but if he were to stick by his guns, then Calgary could make some interesting moves by this afternoon.
What Will Toronto Actually Do?
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No one team has had their hand in as many rumors as the Toronto Maple Leafs. It could be attributed that the sport is reported in no greater detail than the Leafs’ home, but nearly all players on the block have been affiliated with Toronto in some way.
For all that talk, Toronto has done nothing. But the carrot of Rick Nash still dangles out there.
The proud hockey town is in danger of missing the playoffs for the eighth straight year as the Leafs balance precariously just outside of that last playoff spot.
Toronto is reportedly one of two teams left, along with the San Jose Sharks, in the Nash sweepstakes, with the Leafs having the advantage as Nash listed the franchise as one of his preferred destinations.
All the smoke and mirrors could pay off for GM Brian Burke if he is to land Nash, ending the long-suffering the Toronto loyals have endured.
What Will You Be Watching?
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This is only a small sampling of the most exciting day for many in the NHL season. On top of these you have deals happening with the Rangers and scuffles between Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and management.
So what will you be following as the 3 o'clock deadline approaches?
Let us know with your comments below.
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