Rick Nash Sweepstakes: Why the Sabres Should Stay out
Ok, let's address the preliminary thoughts many of you may have before even reading this first.
One, it is true that no one knows for sure whether or not Buffalo is on Rick Nash's fabled list of teams he wants to go to. But, in honesty, no one seems to know for sure of any team that is on the list.
Sure, there may be a "confirmed" list floating around, like this one from the Columbus Dispatch, but one has to wonder whether or not Nash will be asked to expand that list once Scott Howson, the Blue Jackets' general manager, gets a package he likes.
Two, this is not my moment to smear Rick Nash's name as many bloggers have done. The guy is an all-world talent who has been stuck on a meddling team for too long. Putting up his goal totals playing with Kristian Huselius and R.J. Umberger is quite the feat.
Basically, the moral of this story is: Scott Howson is nuts. Insane. Crazy.
At the trade deadline, the price for Nash was said to be extremely high. You may need to sign some scrubs from free agency to fill the empty spots on your roster high.
The New York Rangers were said to have offered the best package at the time, but it has been reported by Yahoo! Sports that Howson's asking price was Brandon Dubinsky, either Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto, either Derek Stepan or Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider and a first-round pick.
You're kidding right? To roughly translate—that's two top-six forwards, a top-pairing defenseman (and a potential future Norris winner if it was McDonagh), a top-ten prospect in the entire league and a first rounder. For one guy.
But everyone seemed to give Howson some benefit of the doubt. He held the cards. He had the leverage. Sure, Nash wanted out, but there were less than 20 games left and the draft and free agency were prime moments to actually pull the trigger.
So why not ask for something ridiculous, and hell, if you get it you're an Ohio hero. If not, regroup and come back at the draft and still get some solid return.
Wow did we ever overestimate Scott Howson. I'm sure 15 or more teams have called about Nash and it's been surprisingly quiet on the "who does Howson want from X team for him?"
However, the one slight insight the hockey world received was from Darren Dreger on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. Dreger reported that Carolina was out of the Nash derby because the "price was too high."
How high do you ask?
Jeff Skinner high. At that rate one only has to assume he was asking for both Staals too. You may be hard pressed to find five general managers in the NHL who would trade Jeff Skinner for Nash straight-up.
So, diatribe aside, this is exactly why the Sabres cannot get involved in this fiasco.
Would Nash be a wonderful addition to this roster? Absolutely. Yet, it's setting up to a point where he'd be playing for a team that's as gutted as the Blue Jackets.
With the Sabres being floated around as having interest in Nash, it has certainly gotten the attention, both good and bad, from the Buffalo faithful. Yet, the discussion seems to be focused more on what Nash can do for the team and not what the Sabres would have to give up to get him.
In order for the Sabres to land Nash, one would have to assume Tyler Myers' name is being floated around. Tyler Ennis and Cody Hodgson are likely also being looked at (knowing full well that Darcy Regier has said both are not going to be moved). The Sabres' top flight prospects obviously aren't safe, so include Joel Armia, Mikhail Grigorenko, Brayden McNabb and Marcus Foligno in that discussion.
At what point are you not only mortgaging the present, but the future as well?
And, granted, any discussion of a package the Sabres would be putting together is complete speculation. But given Howson's track record since the trade deadline, how can you assume it's not ridiculous?
Beyond that, Nash isn't even the right piece to the puzzle. With Thomas Vanek, you basically have two of the same player—crafty around the net, but can score from anywhere and is extremely effective with his body in the corners and in front of the net.
He is not a No. 1 center. He's not even Bobby Ryan.
If there is ever a time for Sabres fans to be happy about Regier being frugal, this is it. Of the players listed above, would you be OK with even a package of three of them leaving for Nash?
Is Nash an all-world talent? Yes.
But, should you give up your entire farm team for one player? No.
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