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Late last week, I wrote about what assets Rick Nash would bring to the San Jose Sharks.
It is quite possible that Antti Niemi is the only movable player that the Columbus Blue Jackets would want in return. For that reason, he is the single most likely player to be moved in a deal that still probably wont happen.
According to Darren Dreger of the NHL Network (h/t Brian Compton of NHL.com), when the teams spoke at the trade deadline, Columbus wanted Logan Couture.
That is too high a price—Couture might be a better two-way player right now, and is a few years younger. It shows the Jackets want top young talent. While the asking price may go down, the Sharks do not have much young talent to give up.
Columbus' best season came when Steve Mason won the Calder Trophy and was talked about as the next great goalie. It took them about three years of him floundering to give up on him, and a new goalie with low mileage might be more enticing than the older forwards the Sharks are willing to part with.
However, the Sharks should be leery of trading their top goaltender. His cap figure is only 13th in the league, and while there are plenty of Steve Masons out there, a flash-in-the-pan goalie almost never is bright enough before burning out to win the toughest trophy in sports.
Clearly if the team had believed in Thomas Greiss, he would have been out there more and would be paid more than $587,500. I think he might be able to be a starting goalie in the NHL, but teams looking to win now should not rely on players with fewer than 20 career starts.
More than likely, the Sharks would have to sign a solid veteran for about half of what Nemo is being paid and hope he is at least as good. Thus, there would be little cap relief considering Nash's monumental contract.
Worse, they would have to give up more than Nemo for Nash. Without many prospects or draft picks to throw in, the Sharks would have to sacrifice more skating talent to make it happen, and they may not gain anything at all from such a trade.
That is why odds are he will remain a Shark, even if they are still lower than most of the remaining roster.