Rick Nash Trade: Why It Was the Right Move for Columbus

Shane DarrowAnalyst IIJuly 24, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 03:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates up to a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes during NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on April 3, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Blue Jackets 2-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Unless you have been in a coma for the last 24 hours, you are probably well aware that Rick Nash is now a member of the New York Rangers and the saga that has been going on for over a year has finally been resolved.

I have done a lot of reading, and read a lot of opinions on how people continuously believe that the Blue Jackets are in deep trouble now that they have gotten rid of Rick Nash in return for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon, and a first round draft pick.

What people fail to remember is that the Blue Jackets were already in deep trouble while they had Nash on the roster.

No matter what occurred, Columbus was going to be on the losing end of the trade. The teams that Nash was willing to go to were not going to give up more than a few pieces of their puzzle because without him they were all already playoff teams.

Remember, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch first reported that the five teams on Rick Nash's list of where he was willing to go were the Penguins, Flyers, Red Wings, Sharks, and of course the New York Rangers.

When you really dissect the five possible locations, the Rangers were the only team out of the five that had the necessary assets to make the trade happen.

Does the combination of Dubinsky, Anisimov, Erixon, and a future prospect equal the production and the leadership that Rick Nash brought to the Blue Jackets franchise? Of course not.

Is Columbus a dark horse playoff contender now that Nash is gone and they received quantity over quality in the deal? Don't even kid yourself.

But is the deal finally done and the Blue Jackets can move on? Absolutely. And that is the most important aspect of this trade if you are looking at it from General Manager Scott Howson's perspective.

Howson tried nearly everything for the last year to try and get equal value for Nash, but he finally came to his senses and realized that it was going to be an impossible task to do so.

I mean the guy asked for Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes, who is one of the most accomplished young talents in the entire NHL. He asked for the sky, but in return didn't even get a star.

Moving on, let's break down all three players the Blue Jackets received.


Brandon Dubinsky

The 26-year-old will enter his seventh NHL season in the fall, but recorded career lows in goals, assists and points last year. Dubinsky is more than capable of being a 25-goal scorer in this league, and with an increase in ice time there is a real possibility that he could put up anywhere from 45-50 points next season.

The one high note of last season was that he really improved his two-way game, and finished with a career high plus-16 rating. He will more than likely be playing in the middle of Vinny Prospal and/or RJ Umberger, and if he can find a way to maintain the right attitude, will become one of the leaders of the young squad.

It is hard to expect much out of Dubinsky, as he has been quite inconsistent throughout his career, but hopefully he won't have to feel the pain of Jack Johnson by watching his former teammates win the Stanley Cup without him next season.

Artem Anisimov

When I think of Artem Anisimov, the first thought that comes to mind is when he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning in December of 2011 and celebrated by getting on one knee and pretending to shoot the goaltender with his stick.

Anisimov had 36 points last season, and will at least be a weapon on the power play for Columbus. His four power-play goals last year was tied for fourth on the Rangers. He is another guy that can play solid two-way hockey and will be a key aspect to the new look of the Blue Jackets.


Tim Erixon

Erixon is a bit of wild card, and to be honest with you I was quite surprised that he was thrown in the deal, as his value is yet to be assessed with only 18 NHL games under his belt. The 21-year-old defenseman from Port Chester, New York has been playing in Sweden since 2005 and was originally drafted 23rd overall by the Calgary Flames in 2009.

At 6'2" 190 pounds, Erixon will bring some size to the blue line for Columbus, and only time will tell whether or not he will grow into a great d-man that can one day play alongside Jack Johnson, or whether he will rot in the AHL.


In conclusion

To all Blue Jackets fans, you got the short end of the stick on the Rick Nash trade. There is no way around it. But this is as good as it would have gotten, and perhaps the biggest positive to be taken out of this is the fact that it is finally over and you can move on.

To Ranger fans: Congratulations, you are now the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.