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NHL: 5 Reasons the Rangers Made the Right Move in Trading for Rick Nash

Brad KurtzbergContributor IJuly 23, 2012

NHL: 5 Reasons the Rangers Made the Right Move in Trading for Rick Nash

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    The New York Rangers finally completed the long-rumored deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for sniper Rick Nash (via USA Today).

    In the end, the trade boils down to Nash for forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, rookie defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round draft choice (via TSN Hockey's Darren Dreger).

    Here's a look at the top five reasons the Rangers made the right move in acquiring Rick Nash.

1. It Addresses the Rangers Biggest Need

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    The New York Rangers needed to add more scoring punch last year. While the Rangers finished the season as the top seed in the Eastern Conference and reached the conference final, they too often relied on the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist to win games 2-1.

    In the playoffs, the Rangers scoring depth was unreliable, especially when Marian Gaborik was limited by injuries and the Rangers struggled to eliminate the eighth-seeded Senators and the seventh-seeded Capitals. Both series went to the full seven games because of the Rangers lack of offensive balance and depth.

    Acquiring Nash gives the Rangers another big natural scoring threat—something they definitely lacked last season.

2. Marian Gaborik Will Miss the Early Part of the Season

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    While Marian Gaborik is a sniper, the former Wild winger had major shoulder surgery after the Rangers playoff run ended and is expected to miss up to six months as a result (via NY Mag).

    That means the Rangers will be without Gaborik until at least late November, and who knows how long it will take until Gaborik gets back up to midseason form?

    Gaborik also has a history of injury, having missed 15 or more games in a season five different times during his career.

    Once Gaborik returns, having two reliable goal scorers like Gaborik and Nash will create all kinds of matchup problems for opponents.

3. The Rangers Did Not Give Up Too Much

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    GM Glen Sather played the waiting game and it payed off. Sather managed to keep highly-regarded forward Derek Stepan out of the deal, which was long considered a necessity by the Blue Jackets.

    Because Sather remained patient, Stepan will remain a Ranger.

    In the end, the Rangers gave up Brandon Dubinsky, who slumped to just 10 goals last season and probably needed a change of scenery; Artem Anisimov, who is likely a second line center at best; and defenseman Tim Erixon, who is a highly touted prospect on defense.

    Even the first-round pick Sather gave up will likely be a late pick if the Rangers have the season everyone expects them to have.

    Yes, the Jackets will get some good players and one first-round pick, but Sather gave up no superstars and the only pick he gave up will likely be a late one.

4. Nash Will Help the Rangers Power Play

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    The Rangers power play struggled throughout the 2011-12 season. New York ranked 23rd in the NHL with a rather mediocre 15.7 percent success rate. Only two teams that qualified for the playoffs had a lower power play percentage (Chicago and Phoenix).

    Nash has been a power play specialist throughout his career. He has scored 83 goals and added 99 assists over the course of his NHL career while playing with the man-advantage.

    That's nearly 30 percent of his goals.

    When you add Brad Richards and eventually Marian Gaborik to the mix, the Rangers will have three players who can be considered top-notch power play players. That should go a long way to improving this important area of the game.

    If the Rangers power play improves from 23rd to say 12th in the NHL, a lot of those 2-1 games will be a little less tight next season for the Rangers.

5. Nash Is Still in His Prime

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    Unlike so many other players the Rangers have acquired over the years (think Marcel Dionne, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur), Nash is still in his prime at the age of 28.

    What's more, Nash is under contract to the Rangers through the end of the 2017-18 season. The Rangers now have cost certainty for Nash and can effectively build their team around him for the next six seasons. When the contract expires, Nash will be 34 and just beginning to get past the prime of his career.

    Nash has also been a very consistent NHL player. In nine NHL seasons, he has topped the 30 goals mark seven times and twice scored at least 40 goals in a season.

    The 6'4", 216-pound Brampton, Ontario native has also been very durable, playing in at least 74 games in all but one season since joining the Blue Jackets in 2002-03.

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