NY Rangers Trades: Rick Nash Must Do 5 Key Things to Help Them Win the Cup
"Now the rowin' gambler he was very bored. He was tryin' to create a next world war. He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor. He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before. But yes I think it can be very easily done. We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun. And have it on Highway 61."
The title song from Bob Dylan's classic 1965 album, "Highway 61 Revisited" sets up the perfect backdrop to the New York Rangers' acquisition of power winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier today.
Rangers GM Glen Sather is the rowin' gambler.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is the promoter who nearly fell off the floor. "Said I never engaged in this kind of thing before"—trading the face of a franchise.
However, the shrewd Sather persisted. And in the end it seemed that after all these months of two GMs going back and forth, forth and back, it was very easily done. The Blue Jacket became a Blueshirt.
So No. 61 goes from playing on perhaps the most nondescript hockey team on the planet, to a piece, and perhaps the final piece of the Rangers Stanley Cup puzzle. Nash will have plenty of great expectations resting upon his broad shoulders, as he makes his debut sometime this coming fall.
His new teammates will be counting on him heavily to do a lot more than he's ever done before.
But here are the five key things that Highway 61 must do, in order to help the Rangers hoist Lord Stanley's coveted hardware in 2013 - and beyond.
He Must Put Plenty of Biscuits in the Basket
Nash lit the lamp 30 times last season, with virtually no talent around him. He's got 289 goals in his nine-year NHL career. Imagine what he could do with saucer passes from centers such as Brad Richards and Derek Stepan? How about parking himself in front of the net on the power play?
No. 61—yes, he will wear it with the Rangers, too—should be able to get at least 40 with the talent he has surrounding him now.
He Must Bash and Crash
This is a big boy, folks. Nash tops out at 6'4" and 220 lbs. Rangers head coach John Tortorella demands his team to play it tough all over the ice. And with his size and speed, Nash can leave a lot of bodies in his wake.
He Must Learn to Live with Torts
Back to the head coach.
There will be times when Torts will call Nash every name in the book. He does it to all of his players.
He Must Adjust Quickly to a Totally Different Culture
Nine years in the NHL. A culture of continuous losing. Only four playoff games to his credit. Rick Nash hasn't had much success in his career.
Now, he's playing for a team that finished only six wins short of the Stanley Cup this past season.
A pretender to a contender, just like that.
He Must Play Big in the Playoffs
Yes, I'm going out on a limb here.
Barring a global thermonuclear meltdown, I predict the Rangers will make the playoffs in 2013.
And there will come a time during those playoffs that the Rangers will be tied or behind by a goal late in a contest—perhaps a big one in the later rounds.
For example, they had the Devils on the ropes tied at three in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and at two-all in Game 6. But they didn't have the guy to turn the tilt in their favor. No one got the big game-changing goal. Nash can be that guy. And for his $7.8 million cap hit, he better be.
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