Thus far in the offseason, the New York Rangers have been the "favorites" to land superstar winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets. However, as it still painstakingly stands, GM Scott Howson's asking price is too high and Glen Sather refuses to budge by not giving away young, premium talent (McDonagh, Kreider) in any deal.
Recently, we've seen free-agent captain Shane Doan visit with teams as Phoenix attempts to find a resolution regarding where they'll be playing hockey next season. Teams like the Kings, Sharks, Red Wings, Penguins and Sabres have all showed interest.
You can add the New York Rangers to that list, who gave Doan a tour of their practice facilities and organization last Friday. You can take away that if New York struck out with Nash, Doan would be a suitable replacement (11 of his last 12 seasons came with at least 20 goals and 30 goals twice).
That's not the case. New York's game plan is to add BOTH players to the team.
Via Larry Brooks of the New York Post:
Know this: It isn’t either Doan or Nash for the Rangers. It is, on Sather’s blueprint, Doan and Nash.
Adding both Nash and Doan to the Rangers would be a major upgrade to the offense, but puts the team under immense cap hell. Nash carries a $7.8 million cap hit till 2017-18 and Doan has reportedly been offered a four year, $30 million deal by an Eastern Conference team, making his potential cap hit $7.5 million and stays on New York's ledger barring a trade because it's a 35 or over contract.
With a few RFAs still to contend with—including a new deal for 22-year-old Michael Del Zotto—and having roughly $15 million in cap space, the Rangers would certainly need to include Brandon Dubinsky and his $4.2 million cap hit in any trade for some cap relief. But, with CBA uncertainty looming large, adding significant salary could come at a frightening cost if negotiations conclude with a much lower salary cap.
It's ambitious of Sather to try and acquire both Nash and Doan, and it has followed along the GM's high-profile yet quiet game plan this offseason. The Rangers nearly acquired Jordan Staal before going to Carolina, and gave Shea Weber the same treatment as Shane Doan before he ultimately signed an offer sheet with Philadelphia.
Unless the Blueshirts move around significant salary, they won't acquire both Shane Doan and Rick Nash. It's one...or the other.