While Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are counting their collective millions received from the Minnesota Wild, the rest of the NHL is ready to make their splash. The Rangers have signed depth and role players up to this point and it is time that they made their offensive splash. Lack of scoring talent has been the Rangers' downfall in the playoffs the past few years.
With Henrik Lundqvist getting older by the day, the team cannot afford to waste his prime years. That is why adding a game-breaker like Rick Nash should be Glen Sather's top priority right now, and NHL insider Darren Dreger confirms the Blueshirts are still in the mix:
Ball now in CBJ court. Det,Pitt,NYR,Phil,SJ all on the list with Carolina possible. Has to be a "homerun" in that group.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 4, 2012
The biggest concern all along with making a trade for a player of Nash's caliber was his salary-cap hit. After looking at some of the deals handed out so far during the free-agent frenzy, however, a cap hit like Nash's is now easy to swallow.
At the most, the Rangers would add $3-4 million in salary to their current cap because any trade will send contracts back to Columbus.
The asking price for Nash no longer includes Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan or Ryan McDonagh, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch states:
Told there are lots of ways #NYR could get this done w/o Kreider, Stepan or McDonagh. As noted, McDonagh does not make sense as centerpiece.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) July 3, 2012
With that being the case, the Rangers should do what it takes to make a deal. There is always apprehension when it comes to dealing homegrown players or prospects, which is understandable.
However, you need to ask yourself a few questions before making a trade. Does Rick Nash or Artem Anisimov, J.T. Miller, Michael Del Zotto, a draft pick and a prospect make me better? In this scenario, Nash is the best option. Del Zotto would be the toughest piece to part with, but Nash is a prolific 30-goal scorer who has done a lot without a sufficient supporting cast.
Prospects are also tough to part with, but for every Chris Kreider there is a Hugh Jessiman. J.T. Miller, the prospect the Rangers would likely use in a counter offer, could go on to have a great career, but Nash is already a proven player.
The Rangers are blessed in the fact that they have a deep prospect pool that would allow them to make such a move, because in a year's time they could replace any potential lost slot. Artem Anisimov or J.T. Miller could be replaced by Michael St. Croix or a free-agent signing. Michael Del Zotto could be replaced with Tim Erixon or another acquisition.
The Rangers are one or two pieces away from becoming Stanley Cup contenders. They have an all-world netminder in Henrik Lundqvist who can keep them in the game as long as the Rangers score some goals in front of him.
They have a successful blue line anchored by Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. They also have prospects like Erixon and Dylan McIlrath who can step in. This is another strength of the Rangers' current squad, and adding to their offense would put them over the top.
Adding Nash would complement a forward group featuring Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan, allowing Nash to thrive at an elite level.
The Rangers got to the Eastern Conference final last season by making no moves at the deadline. Adding Nash would give them another offensive threat, a player with size and a player who is hungry to play for a contending team.
The team can't stand still because divisional rivals and teams around the league are continually improving. The price is rumored to be two roster players, two prospects and a draft pick. If that is the case, the Rangers should not hesitate to trade a combination of Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Christian Thomas, JT Miller, Tim Erixon or Dylan McIlrath at a last resort.
The Blueshirts could also investigate a trade for Bobby Ryan, but that would include them parting with Derek Stepan, and that is something the team does not want to do,
The big pieces have dropped anchor and it is time for the Rangers to add the offense they need. Glen Sather said the team would be aggressive in the free-agency period, and now he has to go out and prove it.