Rick Nash trade to New York Rangers in process now. Details to follow.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 23, 2012
Assuming the deal gets finalized, it will mark the end of an extended saga that has seen one of the NHL's most talented goal scorers searching for an escape route from one of the league's worst teams. He appears to have found it in the Rangers.
Update: Monday, July 23 at 2:55 p.m. ET
Dreger has now reported the full deal. The Blue Jackets will receive a package of three players and a first-round draft pick for Nash.
Dubinsky, Anisimov, Erixon and a 1st for Rick Nash.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 23, 2012
Brandon Dubinsky was a major disappointment for the Rangers last season. He scored only 10 goals in 77 games after netting 24 the year before. Columbus will hope he bounces back.
Artem Anisimov continued to show promise in his third season, compiling 36 points and a plus-12 rating. He has the talent to crack the top six with the Blue Jackets before long.
Tim Erixon is a highly-touted defensive prospect capable of making the jump to the NHL next season.
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Nash scored 30 goals and chipped in 29 assists for the Blue Jackets last season, but Columbus still finished with nine fewer points than any other team. The 28-year-old captain has scored at least 30 times in seven of the past eight seasons.
How will Nash fare with the Rangers?
He will immediately provide the Rangers with some much-needed scoring depth. They were overly reliant on players like Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards last season, which eventually caught up with them in the playoffs.
Along with his offensive ability, Nash carries with him a $7.8 million salary cap hit. Luckily for the Rangers, they have the space to make it work and he should have no problem earning every bit of it playing alongside more talented teammates.
The Blue Jackets were forced into a tough situation. Although it's always difficult for a team to trade the so-called face of the franchise, it had become clear that Nash wanted to continue his career in another city, and they have reportedly decided to let him do exactly that.
Barring an unforeseen setback, Nash will be playing his home games at Madison Square Garden next season.