When TSN's Bob McKenzie reported on Tuesday that Anaheim Ducks star winger Bobby Ryan could be available for trade, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson must have been furious.
Howson is expected to trade his franchise player and captain Rick Nash before next season. Nash is a great player, but acquiring Ryan has more positives than trading for Nash does.
Per Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch:
The waters have been muddied in recent days with the revelation that Anaheim is willing to part with forward Bobby Ryan. This does not help Howson's case at all, as Ryan and Nash are similar players, except that Ryan is younger (25 vs. 28) and cheaper ($5.1 million cap hit through 2014-15 vs. Nash's $7.8 million through 2017-18). The asking price for Ryan is said to be lower than what the Blue Jackets are seeking for Nash, too.
When another 30-goal scorer hits the market, the demand goes down.
In the above excerpt, Portzline sums up why teams could certainly turn their attention away from Nash and toward Ryan.
Paying more money over more years for Nash, who isn't that much more productive on the ice than Ryan, would be a bad move for several teams. You have to imagine that most of the teams interested in acquiring Nash will also be looking at Ryan as a possible trade target.
Darren Dreger of TSN reported this via Twitter on Thursday: "Bobby Ryan and Rick Nash linked. Same teams in on both, so, if one goes, the other may move soon after."
Which player should teams pursue first?
The Blue Jackets should have seen this situation coming and prevented it by trading Nash before February's trade deadline, but they didn't.
You would have to guess that when one of them gets traded, if that happens, the teams who missed out on the first player will be trying to acquire the other. In that case, the team whose player doesn't get traded first will probably benefit because teams will be more desperate at that point.
Expect Ryan and Nash to dominate the trade rumors and speculation over the coming days.