NHL Trade Rumors: Rangers Must Trade for Rick Nash Rather Than Sign Zach Parise

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIJune 26, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates up to a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes during NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on April 3, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Blue Jackets 2-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One thing was painfully obvious when the New York Rangers suffered a heartbreaking series defeat to the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals: the power play unit was subpar.

John Tortorella's team scored on just 13-of-73 power plays throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs. That's good for 17.8 percent; not terrible, but not good either.

The scary thing is, that number was over two points higher than their regular season output. The Rangers finished 23rd in the league in power play percentage, scoring just 15.7 percent of the time on special teams.

Their inefficiency with a man advantage was one of their only shortcomings through the entire 2011-2012 season. That is why they must make a trade for Rick Nash. According to BlueJacketsXtra, the Rangers are in the running to make a swap for Nash.

"The New York Rangers, San Jose and Ottawa are potential destinations, too, but strike the Rangers from that list if they land [Zach] Parise during free agency."

Sports Illustrated recently reported that the Rangers could be making a bid for Zach Parise in the free agent market.

If the Rangers want to take their team to the next level and make themselves the favorite in the Eastern Conference, GM Glen Sather needs to send some players to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Nash, rather than sign Parise.

Both wingers are extremely valuable, but Nash would help the Rangers on the power play more. Parise scored one more goal on special teams last season, but since the 2005-2006 season, Nash has outscored Parise 58-51 on the power play.

That doesn't seem like a big number, but if the Rangers got a couple more power-play goals in the conference finals, they might have had a date with the Los Angeles Kings.

The numbers are less important than Nash's presence on the ice. At 6'4, 215 pounds, he's been the perfect physical forward that the Rangers need on the power play. The four other left wingers on their roster are completely different players than Nash is.

Chris Kreider has a good combination of size and speed, but he's not the offensive force that Nash is...at least not yet. Carl Hagelin is one of the fastest skaters on the team, but he has trouble finding the back of the net at times.

At 33 years old, Ruslan Fedotenko has clearly lost a step, and Mike Rupp has the size, but his five points in 60 games won't get it done.

If Sather makes a trade for Nash, he could hop on the first line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik up front. On the power play, Nash could take Derek Stepan's spot on the first unit.

Nash's numbers don't exactly pop out when placed next to Parise's, but the Blue Jackets have made the playoffs just one time since Nash was drafted. They haven't just missed the playoffs, they have been near the bottom of the league almost every season.

Nash has been putting up stellar numbers on pretty bad teams year in and year out.

Imagine what Nash could do on the same team as Gaborik, Richards, Ryan Callahan and every other good player that the Rangers have on their roster.

Tortorella has a great team to work with, but the addition of Nash would make the Rangers the top team in the Eastern Conference.