The Nash era has come to an end, but what's next for the Blue Jackets?
Finally, the Rick Nash saga has come to an end.
The winner? Indeed, the New York Rangers.
Before, it was only Rick Nash. Now, the team has gradually acquired pieces to, hopefully, vacate the trenches of the Western Conference.
Here are five reasons why the Columbus Blue Jackets benefited from moving Rick Nash to the New York Rangers.
Howson made some significant moves before trading Nash, will this deal help?
After the heartache Nash endured as a Columbus Blue Jacket, the time has come for both parties to go their separate ways.
Nash deserves to play for a contender, and Columbus needs to build a legitimate hockey team before placating the desires of a superstar.
Throughout the Nash era, the Blue Jackets had a terrible time, if not horrible luck, in trying to find complementary talent. Whether through the draft, free agency or trade, nothing seemed to go right for them.
Now that Nash has been traded, the Blue Jackets can look forward to fulfilling other parts of their franchise without having to deal with Nash's demands going forward.
Nevertheless, without Rick Nash, the Columbus Blue Jackets are a scary team, in a bad way.
But this had to be done.
If Scott Howson's job was hard before, it just became the hardest in the NHL.
Brandon Dubinsky, newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets
For anyone familiar with Howson's initial demands, it was easy to assume that his return to earth would happen soon.
Playing with Brad Richards and/or Marion Gaborik, Nash could potentially have a break out season at the age of 28. However, the fact remains that Nash is first, and foremost, a goal scorer.
Howson had to understand that.
Based on the current level of franchise players, his was slightly outdated.
Some people were looking forward to a blockbuster, but Nash's overvaluation seemed to only fit with the public. General managers around the NHL seemed to have it right.
Nash is nothing more than an elite level goal scorer, while at the age of 28, he comes with a cap hit of $7.8 million, which is more than Pekke Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Zdeno Chara, Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Anze Kopitar, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos and Zach Parise...
Get the idea?
Two potential top-six fowards (Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov), a potential top-four defenceman (Tim Erixon) and a first-round pick should be considered an even trade for Rick Nash.
Based on the current calibre of "franchise players" entering the league, Howson made the right decision in not only taking his time, but making sure he got value for his only star player.
Anything more would've been a dream, and it had to be squashed for a realistic deal to be made.
The Rangers play in the East, ensuring Nash will not see much of the Blue Jackets
Don't worry Blue Jackets fans, you'll not have to see your ex-captain very much for the rest of his career.
Surely, this must have been on the minds of the front office. Imagine if Nash went to the Detroit Red Wings or the Chicago Blackhawks? This would puncture the hearts of everyone associated with the Blue Jackets organization, mostly fans.
In fact, that would be the last thing they needed going forward.
Luckily they won't have to deal with Nash. He is now the problem of the Northeast Division, which is arguably the best division in the NHL.
It would be fitting if these two teams could only meet for a lengthy series in a Stanley Cup final, which would be unbelievable for so many other reasons.
The Columbus Blue Jackets look very different from the abysmal team that took the ice last year.
With the additions of Nick Foligno, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, the Blue Jackets have definitely upgraded their top-six forwards. Now, it remains on the shoulders of Vinny Prospal, R.J. Umberger, Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen to unite this corps of forwards in the upcoming season.
Jack Johnson, who should be the favorite to wear the C, will easily become the Blue Jackets best player after the departure of Nash. Johnson, along with the rest of the defensive corps, will have to step up huge for the Blue Jackets to have any chance at success next season. James Wisniewski, who will be a great complementary defenceman for Johnson, will also hope to have a big season as well.
Drafting the best defenceman available in 2012 might also help the Blue Jacket's in the future. Ryan Murray, welcome.
Steve Mason and Curtis Sanford were less than spectacular in goal for the Blue Jackets last year. It became necessary for the Blue Jackets to fix this problem during the offseason. After acquiring Sergei Brobovksy, it would seem they've done just that.
Though they seem a long ways away, this team could surprise a few people in 2012-2013.
Ryan Johansen has all the skills to become a great leader in Columbus, but it won't be easy.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a terrible history thus far in the NHL. With the movement of Rick Nash, the last bit of the old era is finally gone.
Now, the team can actually concentrate on building a young and talented squad, instead of trying to cut corners for a playoff berth to appease Rick Nash.
The signings of Vinny Prospal and Jeff Carter were just that, and were not in the long-term interests of the franchise. The fact is, there were just too many holes on the team to warrant even mild success in previous seasons.
Last season, the worst of the Columbus Blue Jackets was on display for the world to see, but one thing must be understood...
They're only going to get better.