NHL Free Agent & Trade Rumors: Who Is Better Fit for NY Rangers, Parise or Nash?
Zach Parise or Rick Nash? Who is a better fit for the New York Rangers? The 2011-12 NHL season is over and the Stanley Cup has been awarded so the focus has now shifted to the NHL's free agency period and the subsequent trade rumors that will start percolating as the NHL Draft approaches.
Both players are very big names the Rangers will have a strong interest in but who is the best fit?
The Rangers had a very successful regular season and advanced the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 1997. However, a 4-2 series loss to the New Jersey Devils still stings and illustrated the fact that the Rangers were close but they need more.
The Rangers had great goaltending and solid defense but for the umpteenth time, their offense left Henrik Lundqvist at the altar.
Zach Parise is the cream of this year's free agent crop and Rick Nash is going to be the hottest player on the trade market. Conceivably, the Rangers would love to add one of these players but who would be the better fit?
Parise is a player who has a lot of things that are attractive for the Rangers.He is a speedy American winger with a goalscorer's touch. He is a solid two-way player who can play in all facets of special teams.
These characteristics rank high on John Tortorella's checklist because if your going to play for General Torts, you need to play two-way hockey. Just ask Wojtek Wolski and Mats Zuccarello if you have your doubts.
Parise's nationality is also a plus because Tortorella likes having American players because often he has experience in being their coach on the international level. There is a familiarity aspect involved because if Tortorella has coached a player before, he has an idea on how that player will fit in his system. This would apply to Parise.
This advantage combined with Parise's skill set makes him valuable to the Rangers. Adding Parise to the fold would really enhance the Blueshirts' offensive firepower. Despite this, would he be a good fit?
However, the Rangers already have a less offensive version of Zach Parise in Ryan Callahan. Both are the same size and are similar in age and are known for their leadership qualities. The Rangers want to add not only skill this offseason, but size and grit as well.
Parise is tough hard-nosed player but he lacks the size and physicality the Rangers crave.
No one would sneer if Glen Sather signed Zach Parise to a contract but he would just add to things the Rangers already have. The only plus to signing Parise is that it would only cost the Rangers' cap space and no young prospect or assets.
Glen Sather would love to sign a free agent rather than part with assets to acquire a top player, but let's just look at things from a "what if" scenario.
Sather is most certainly going to give Columbus a buzz this offseason. With fewer bidders in the Nash-stakes, it is conceivable that the asking price will become drastically lower. When Howson threw Nash under the bus in a post-deadline press conference, he devalued his asset in a huge way.
The unique situation that Howson is currently in that Nash possesses a tight no-movement clause. Nash is in the driver's seat for all negotiations. If Nash has an ideal destination, he will end up in that town.
It has been suggested that if John Davidson joins the organization, he will make trading Nash an easier process all together. Davidson did a marvelous job in St. Louis and it is expected he could do the same with Columbus.
It has also been suggested that he could convince Nash to stay but things should become clearer as the draft approaches.
In terms of fit for the Rangers, Nash brings a lot to the table. He is an older more developed version of current rookie sensation Chris Kreider. Nash is a solid skater, possesses a great shot, has size and plays in the dirty areas of the ice.
The biggest negative brought up with Nash is his $7.8 cap hit. In an age where repeat Stanley Cup victories are so seldom, fans and teams need to look at what a player brings to the table in the immediate and not the future implications it could have.
The Rangers would shed salary in a trade and likely would incur only a $3.0- $4.0 increase on their books. If the Rangers did add Nash and won the Cup next season, it becomes easier to decide who should and shouldn't be retained long term.
Nash may have an albatross cap hit but in New York he would be surrounded with complementary players like Kreider, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, Ryan Callahan and so on.
If the Rangers wanted to acquire Nash, it is likely that Brandon Dubinsky, a prospect like Tim Erixon or Dylan McIlrath, JT Miller or Christian Thomas and a first round draft pick would be included. If the Rangers had to up the ante a bit they likely would as long as Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh were off the board.
It has been suggested by writers like Larry Brooks of the New York Post that the Blueshirts have some decisions to make in regards to their centers Derek Stepan and Artem Ansimov in addition to their depth on the wings.
Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising if the Blueshirts parted with one of those centers in a trade as long as they got another center back. The Rangers likely would prefer to trade Anisimov over Stepan because of the progress Stepan has made but nothing is certain.
Both Parise and Nash are talented players. Adding either players has equal pros and cons. Parise would cost no assets but would add to what the Rangers have and would command a top contract.
Nash would add skill and size but would bring his $7.8 cap hit and it would force the Rangers to deal some players, prospects and potential draft picks. After analyzing all the variables, it is clear that one player is a better fit.
That player is Rick Nash. While Parise is über talented Nash's size, shot and power play prowess will drive the Rangers to pursue him come the offseason. Cap hit and traded assets aside, Nash is a player who would really bolster the Blueshirts' top-six next season and in the subsequent years going forward.
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