Rick Nash: Top 10 Reasons Why He's Worth Every Penny to New York Rangers
"Its a lucky day, just for changin'. Leavin' the old world behind.
Lucky day for walkin' a new road. Just to clear your mind.
It's a day for startin' a new way. Tellin' the old one goodbye.
Lucky day for gettin' above it. Spread your wings and fly.
It's a lucky day. It's a lucky day, yeah.
Goodbye, goodbye Columbus."
But even if he doesn't, he has to be feeling exactly the same way, because his lucky day has finally arrived. Now he has an association with one of the top teams in the National Hockey League.
Traded on Monday to the Rangers from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and New York's first-round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft, Nash has a new lease on life. No. 61 also brings the weight of great expectations with him, along with the weight of his salary. In fact, he automatically becomes the team's highest-paid player, signed through 2018 at $7.8 million per season.
That's a lot of dough, folks. And here are the top 10 reasons why he's worth every penny.
He's Got Plenty of Goals
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Nash has 289 of them to be exact, in 674 career regular-season games. That's an average of more than 30 goals per season during his nine-year career. Ranger Rick definitely knows how to find the back of the net with regularity. And playing with centers who know how to dish the biscuit, like Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, he'll have plenty of opportunities to light the lamp this coming season. And beyond.
Richards in particular is extremely excited to have Nash on Broadway. According to Jason Malloy of The Guardian, the Rangers' No. 1 center commented, “It’s what we need. He’s one of the best scorers and power forwards in the league.”
He's Got Plenty of Size
Rick Nash is one big boy.
At 6'4" and 219 pounds, he brings the bulk that the Rangers desperately need up front. During the playoffs this past season, hulking forwards from the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils gave the boys from Broadway a tough time. Nash gives them a chance to turn the tables, no matter the opposition.
He's Got Much Love for the Blueshirts
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Rick Nash wanted to become a Ranger for quite a while.
Why? He knew what they were building and knew they were moving closer to something special. According to Rick Carpiniello at his Rangers Report Blog, Nash commented, “The main thing was looking at the team, looking at what they’ve done over the last couple of years. It’s something I’d love to be part of and help them out."
He's Got Much Love for Playing in New York City
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"I wanted to play somewhere where I wanted to be, and my number one priority was to be here, and I'm just happy it worked out," Nash told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. The newest Ranger also said, "If I had to wait all summer to come here, then I would've."
At Rick Carpiniello's Rangers Report Blog, Nash also added, "I think I look at the positive and for me to end up in New York, one of the most historic organizations, and I think every kid dreams of playing for that Original Six and that big-time city. I don’t think there’s a better place than here for me.”
He's Got Lots of Leadership Experience
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Nash was named Blue Jackets captain in March of 2008 and remained in that capacity until the day he was dealt to the Rangers. So he knows a thing or two about running the show in the dressing room. Reaching out to teammates when needed.
And the leadership of the Rangers has reached out to him.
As noted at Rick Carpiniello's Rangers Report blog, Nash said, “A lot of the guys have (spoken to him). Lundqvist has, and Callahan and Staal, and obviously I’ve known Richie (Brad Richards) for a while. So everyone’s been so helpful from a players’ standpoint, but even more so from the staff. From everything I’ve seen it’s a first-class organization and I’m amazed by it. It’s been really good so far.”
He's Got Pressure-Packed Games on His Resume
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Even though he only has four career Stanley Cup playoff games on his resume, Rick Nash knows a thing or two about playing under the microscope. He was part of Team Canada's gold ,edal squad at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. And he certainly came up big on one of the world's biggest hockey stages—two goals and three assists in seven games.
Then there were the accolades that went along with that performance.
According to Rich Chere at nj.com, former New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, then an assistant coach for Team Canada at the Olympics, had his eyes opened by Nash. “I never thought he was that type of player, as good as I’ve seen him play,” Lemaire said. “I knew he was a powerful winger, but I didn’t know that he had that much energy and he was that good. There’s stuff that I didn’t know he could do. Not only physical, but being a team player, paying attention to all details."
Chere then cited how legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur felt about Nash's Olympic output. "He's real dangerous," Brodeur said of Nash. "I got to play with him a lot at the world championships and Olympics. He's quite a hockey player."
Playing in New York will present its own special brand of pressure. Nash knows it. And he's ready for it.
“I think I’ll embrace it great," stated Nash on Andrew Gross' Ranger Rants Blog.
The big winger went on to add, "I feel like hockey is truly a passion here where they expect the same of a championship-caliber team. I think they’ve done everything they can as an organization to put that together. I think pressure is a great thing if you use it in the right way.”
He's Got the Right Frame of Mind to Play for Torts
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You have to have a certain type of temperament to play for Rangers head coach John Tortorella.
According to Andrew Gross at his Ranger Rants Blog, Nash noted, "I talked to him before that when we were in Columbus training together. He loved it here, he said it was one of the best parts of his career was playing here and he loves Torts. From what I understand he’s a very demanding and tough guy to play for and he really preaches hard work. That’s what you expect from a coach, that’s what you want.”
He's Got Versatility
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John Tortorella will move his forwards up and down the lineup as needed, and Rick Nash will be no exception.
Not a problem for the big winger. At Rick Carpiniello's Rangers Report Blog, he offered his take: “I like both (left and right sides) for different reasons. Left, I like coming out of my own end with my stick protecting me, and right, I like having my stick in the middle to shoot and protect the puck. So, I think over my career I’ve been bounced back and forth so many times that it really doesn’t matter.”
He's Got Big-City Blood in His Veins
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The 28-year-old Nash grew up in the Toronto metropolitan area. So even though he spent nine seasons in Columbus, Ohio, he certainly won't feel like a stranger in Gotham.
He's Got No Regrets
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After playing in a professional hockey outpost for nearly a decade, Rick Nash knew that he needed a change. But he has no qualms about his time as a Blue Jacket, or the fact that he asked to be dealt.
As he told Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News, “Yeah, I think I would’ve definitely hoped to win there a lot more and play more than four playoff games in a nine-year career. But the reality is it didn’t happen and the plan didn’t pan out (the way) that I wanted it to. But I think I look at the positive, and for me to end up in New York, one of the most historic organizations, and I think every kid dreams about playing for that Original Six in that big time city, and I don’t think there’s a better place for me."
One more thing: just wanted to add this Rick Nash photo collection, courtesy of the Rangers.