New York Rangers: 5 Biggest Benefits of Rick Nash's Huge Trade
The Rangers traded for the offensive threat that countless critics said would be the difference between a loss in the conference finals and a victory in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Nash brings his 6'4", 219-pound frame, his talent with the puck and the pedigree of a five-time All-Star. But Nash also brings immense pressure to both the Rangers and to himself, as each is supposed to be the solution to the other's problems.
The Rangers provide the opportunity for the playoff-hungry Nash, who wants to show that he can decide games in May and June. And Nash is the talented difference-maker who is the missing piece on a disciplined team that has a hard time scoring.
Here are five good things about Rick Nash as a New York Ranger:
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If you rolled your eyes at the headline, I accept that.
The Rangers acquired Nash to put numbers on the scoreboard.
Nash is a 60-plus points per season guy, and he will be expected to improve on his 59-point 2011 season with more talented skaters around him now.
Nash will be leaned on heavily to score, assist and carry the puck into the zone, but he wants the pressure, as champions tend to do.
Nash is the type of player that can turn a 0-0 game with no space into a 1-0 victory, and he can do it with a pass or a shot.
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Trades often have collateral damage, especially trades involving teams owned by James Dolan.
This was not one of those trades.
The Rangers parted ways with Artem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixon, a 2013 first-round pick and the big contract of Brandon Dubinsky in exchange for Nash and prospect Steve Delisle.
Dubinksy and Anisimov are good players, but the Rangers really wanted to keep hold of their core of young talent like Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Marc Staal, which they did.
Nash wasn't slighted by his discounted price. He was pleased Rangers GM Glen Sather held his ground, because it means he has better teammates.
Attention on Him
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Nash will likely have the biggest crowd around his locker after the Rangers' season-opener.
Nash played nearly a full season dealing with trade-rumor questions after games, so the attention will not be new to him.
If the Rangers lose a tough game, it's better for veteran guys like Nash, Brad Richards and Henrik Lundqvist to face the harsh questions than a guy like Chris Kreider.
I'm fully confident Kreider could handle an interview, but the point is that developing players shouldn't be expected to score game-winners.
Proven guys like Nash, however, are expected to, and whether he's scoring or not, Nash will attract a lot of attention, which leaves some younger guys more time to focus on hockey.
End of Rumors
No more gossip, fake trade proposals or pleas from other teams. Nash skates in a blue sweater now.
Trade rumors are good in spirit because predictions are fun, and so is imagining a major upgrade for your team, but over the last year, Nash had so many rumors connected to his name you would have thought he was a Kardashian.
Of course, with a move to the Rangers comes living in New York and the prospect of dating famous girls.
If Nash scores a couple of game-winners or makes a good impression on the city's nightlife, maybe new rumors will start.
Rangers Get the Pressure They Want
Rangers GM Glen Sather
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You never know unless you try, and the Rangers are going for it.
Wins will be expected, losses will be dissected and there will probably be dozens of articles calling for Tortorella to be fired and players to be traded before Marian Gaborik even returns to the team.
The Rangers will welcome the pressure like they have welcomed Nash, and once the season begins, everyone will see exactly what type of team this is.
Will the Rangers embrace the pressure and win the Stanley Cup, or will there be a new missing piece to the puzzle?