NHL Rumors: Rick Nash Trade Talks Heating Up, San Jose Sharks Falling Behind?

Scott Semmler@@ScottSemmler22Analyst IIJune 15, 2012

MONTREAL, CANADA - DECEMBER 6:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on December 6, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Blue Jackets defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

The Rick Nash sweepstakes has seemed to finally get serious over the past week, with a couple teams rumored to be preparing good-looking packages to claim one of the NHL's most prized offseason acquisitions.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Blue Jackets have been involved in "significant" trade talks with a few teams over the past couple weeks and a potential trade could be struck soon.

"NHL sources have told The Dispatch that as many as seven teams have had “significant” trade conversations with Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson about Nash during the past 10 days and that a handful of other clubs—three or four, maybe more—have “kicked the tires” to see what a deal might cost them.Most of the teams known to be expressing interest are the ones that expressed interest at the February trade deadline."

The report also said that the New York Rangers still have the best chance of acquiring Nash, with the Sharks, Flyers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes in the hunt as well.

However, do not expect anything to be final just yet.  We can save that anticipation for the 2012 NHL draft, when a probable deal for Nash will be done between any of the teams rumored.

But where do the Sharks fit in all of this, and why have we not heard much from them about Nash since they were rumored to be the front-runners to acquire him around the trade deadline last season?

The fact is that San Jose is falling behind in the Nash sweepstakes.  Seeing them acquire Nash at this point, knowing how stubborn both the Blue Jackets and Wilson are, is slowly falling away from probable.

The Rangers are the likeliest of contenders for Nash because of what they have in their system and what the Blue Jackets are in the market for.

The Rangers have good, young talent that can be spent in return for Nash, and the Sharks are not willing to part with their group of young players just yet.  The most likely of young Sharks players to be traded in return for Nash is Joe Pavelski, who had just about the same point totals as Nash last season—Logan Couture is simply out of the equation.

The only reason the Blue Jackets would want to tinker with what San Jose has to offer at this point is for the Sharks' goalie depth—a young and talented list of five goalies, any of which could be included in an offer for Nash.

However, what do the Blue Jackets value more right now—young talent and prospects or young goalies?

It would seem from the reports that Columbus would be leaning towards the young prospects and less on the goalies that the Sharks have to offer.

The Blue Jackets do still have goalie Steve Mason, who general manager Scott Howson pretty much publicly gave up on this offseason, but he could be reliable for at least this next season.

Columbus does need a stable goalie they can lean on, but they need young and talented prospects even more.

With that said, time may be running out on the Sharks' odds of acquiring Nash this offseason—especially if they are not willing to part with Couture.



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