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Rick Nash Price Tag Was Too High for San Jose Sharks

Rick Nash cost top dollar despite his publicly-known trade demands
Rick Nash cost top dollar despite his publicly-known trade demandsChristian Petersen/Getty Images
MJ KasprzakSenior Writer IIJuly 29, 2012

Last week, San Jose Sharks fans got relief: Rick Nash was traded to the New York Rangers, ending the rumors that dominated all the talk about the team.

Based on the cost, San Jose should have had no interest in the trade.

Just as Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson had to lower his asking price from the New York Rangers, he would have eventually accepted less than Logan Couture from the Sharks. But a deal for Nash would still have been too costly for San Jose.

Columbus gets two second-line forwards who are younger than Nash, upgrades from a low-level prospect to a low-level NHL player and move up about 40 places in the draft. They could get that first-round pick for free if the Rangers make the Stanley Cup Finals.

Outside of Couture, the Sharks have no players as young as Brandon Dubinsky or Artem Anisimov that are already capable of playing on a second line. The closest they have is Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski—both two years older—but they are both more accomplished players.

A trade like that would not have made the Sharks a better team, and that is when they are built to win now. The cost was too high for the Rangers, too.

Dubinsky and Anisimov combined for four fewer goals last year, but they had 15 more assists. If trades were all about scoring, a team would accept that production figuring they can get 11 points out of the players moving up the depth chart.

While not the large power forward Nash is, Dubinsky is much more physical—with twice the hits and penalty minutes to show for it. Both he and Anisimov have more blocked shots and fewer giveaways.

If both parties were to get the same out of the forwards in the trade, the Rangers would need to get 11 points, 178 hits, 61 blocked shots, 12 takeaways and only nine giveaways more out of the rest of the team to balance the scale.

Another way of examining their collective impact is the Hockey Prospectus goals vs. threshold stat. It attempts to take into account surrounding talent and situations by measuring how that player performed against an average scratched player at the same position.

Nash was ranked 114th at plus-11. Columbus scored 8.1 more goals, gave up 2.1 fewer and were plus-0.8 on special teams than they would have been with a typical replacement player.

Dubinsky ranked plus-6.7 and Anisimov ranked plus-7.6. Since it is a replacement player New York will have to add to their lineup, the comparison is easy: Columbus has a 3.3 advantage in goals differential. Moreover, the two younger players will improve more than Nash for the next few years, likely making that margin wider.

The bottom line is there were better free-agent options available for team's pursuing Nash all along. I will be profiling them for San Jose Sharks Examiner over the next week.

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