After months of rumors between the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers the deal was finally done and Ranger fans were thrilled.
The acquisition of Nash, who has 289 goals in nine seasons with the Blue Jackets made many fans and experts believe the Rangers would be a favorite to win the Stanley Cup for the 2012-13 season.
To some, Nash is considered an elite player. Clearly to the New York Rangers, he is an elite player. The team hopes that Nash is someone who could help improve the scoring woes the team had last year, which ultimately helped escort them out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, is Rick Nash a bit overrated?
As stated earlier, Rick Nash had 289 goals in nine seasons with the Blue Jackets. During that time he had seven seasons of 30-plus goals including two seasons of 40-plus goals. Not only can he light the lamp, but he can also distribute the puck. During the nine year span Nash had 30-plus assist in five seasons.
Nash has also racked up individual awards for his effort on and off the ice. Nash is a five time All-Star, a winner of the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2004 (41 goals) and a NHL Foundation Player Award in 2009.
While Rick Nash has had great individual success, overall team success is not an area where Nash has excelled. In nine seasons, Nash and the Blue Jackets only made the playoffs once and lost in four games. Even worse, the Blue Jackets have finished last in the Central Division the last three seasons.
While he has never had the team success, which some would put the blame on him since he was captain for the Blue Jackets for four years, he doesn’t have to worry about being a leader on his new team. The Rangers have plenty of leaders so Nash won’t be relied on as a leader as much.
With that said, with the pressure off his shoulders, I truly think the Rangers have an “elite” hockey player. By elite I mean top ten player in the league, who has the possibility to score 40-50 goals consistently with the team around him.
The only other question mark with Rick Nash is; can he handle the New York media? If he struggles can he handle the pressure?
Brad Richards struggled early in his first year with the Rangers however, played better at the end of the season and playoffs. Compared to Nash, Richards has played in bigger markets than Columbus and has much more experience, especially in the playoffs.
Still, if Nash can gel with the media and his teammates, he will be a dynamic player for many years to come with the New York Rangers and will go down as one of the best players ever acquired by the Rangers.