2013 Stanley Cup Odds Show San Jose Sharks Better off Without Rick Nash

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2013 Stanley Cup Odds Show San Jose Sharks Better off Without Rick Nash
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Rick Nash trade did not even move them ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Las Vegas

Earlier this summer, the 2013 Stanley Cup odds were enough to give my colleague consternation. The San Jose Sharks were an 11th-best 22:1.

If he thought that was high, take a look now—20:1 according to Bovada and an improvement of almost two percent. They did this by adding Brad Stuart and Adam Burish while letting several depth players go that collectively had 340 games played?

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers made the big trade that the Sharks had sought, and their odds went up from 12:1 to 9:1. If we are to believe those odds, the Rangers' odds increased the same two percent that the Sharks did.

That was the reason I took the position that Nash's price was too high last week. It almost certainly would have been for San Jose, and the article made the case for why it was too high for New York.

Two key statistics (corsi and goals vs. threshold) that measure a player against relative talent—i.e. take into account his line support—show Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky collectively can out-perform Nash and a reserve that moves up on the depth chart into active duty.

Still, I can accept that it works short-term because the Rangers are the perfect situation for Nash. But depth is always helpful in overcoming injuries, particularly as they pile up in May. There is still loss, even if your fourth-line guys can cover those roles just as well, minor leaguers must take their places and raw ones theirs...

In the end, Nash improves the percentage chance that the Holy Grail of Hockey is hoisted by the Rangers by two percent. Two younger players will almost certainly improve more than one older one, so the margin is likely to decline each year.

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However, if the Rangers can stay at their current odds for all four remaining years on Nash's contract, their chances of winning even one title are about one in three.

If it does not get them that title in that time, the trade is likely to be a failure. The window for most teams is very short, with only three teams able to even compete for their conference title two years in a row in the post-lockout era—including the 2010 and 2011 Sharks playoffs.

This is one of those trades that San Jose knows well. General manager Doug Wilson has gone after the big fish during the 2005-06 season, the 2007 and 2008 trade deadline and the summers of 2008, 2009 and 2011.

How has that worked out? These seem like genius if they work, but odds are at least 2:1 that it does not.

One injury to Nash is far less devastating in this trade than one to Dubinsky, where at least Anisimov remains.

One unforeseen issue, like the vertigo Tomas Vokoun and Jonas Hiller experienced or Henrik Lundqvist and the extra scoring, will not be enough.

And if Dubinsky or Anisimov keeps getting better in each of the next five years, they could be what Nash is—the second-best forward on their team.

That is why the Sharks are better off getting someone that is at least a borderline second-line forward than going after the big fish.

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