Rick Nash Trade: Rangers Are Winners of Atlantic Division Offseason After Swap

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIJuly 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

New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather should be thrown behind bars for robbing Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade that brought Rick Nash to Madison Square Garden for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first-round draft pick (via ESPN's Katie Strang).

Not only did the Rangers bring in the Blue Jackets' former captain and playmaker, they effectively solidified themselves as the winner of the Atlantic Division offseason.

MSG Network's John Giannone touched on the massive amount of activity that revolved around the Atlantic Division this summer on Twitter:

Wow. Some Rangers hot streak since losing to NJ. Let's see: Devils lose Final & Parise, NYR Acquire Nash, PIT loses Staal, PHI loses Weber.

— John Giannone (@jaygeemsg) July 24, 2012

As Giannone notes, the Rangers season did not end on a high note, but this offseason has brought hopes of grandeur for the 2012-13 season.

The Rangers added a star player, one that has scored at least 60 points in four of his last five seasons. Nash missed the 60-point mark by one tally last season, but the Blue Jackets were far from a quality team.

In New York, he will be surrounded by stars.

Brad Richards is one of the best centers in the league, Marian Gaborik won't be on the ice until at least December, but he finished third in the NHL in goals scored last season and is a great right-winger. And ww all know what Henrik Lundqvist is capable of between the pipes.

The Rangers don't just rely on star power either as Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin and rising star Chris Kreider will all be back.

For a professional sports franchise, watching your rivals lose players or fail to add talent is nearly as productive as bringing in pieces of your own.

This offseason, the New Jersey Devils lost Zach Parise to the Minnesota Wild. Parise has scored 34 points in 43 games against the Blueshirts in his seven seasons in the league. He didn't play a huge part in ousting the Rangers from the playoffs, but it is a relief to see him go nonetheless.

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes in what appeared to be an emotionally driven move by Staal to play with his brother, Eric.

The Philadelphia Flyers, who looked like they would be the team to beat next season in the Eastern Conference, missed out on Shea Weber after the Nashville Predators matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet, according to the team's official Twitter account.

So, whether you want to call it addition by a rival's subtraction or just the luck of the draw, the Rangers are in prime position to return to the Eastern Conference Finals with advancing on their mind.