As Rick Nash Goes, so Will the 2013-14 New York Rangers

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IDecember 6, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 20: Rick Nash #61 of the New York Rangers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second period at Madison Square Garden on January 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)
Scott Levy/Getty Images

If you take a look at the last two games for the New York Rangers, the importance of Rick Nash to the team is evident. Despite the Rangers' most recent cash contribution to netminder Henrik Lundqvist, Nash is the team's most important player, and they will go as far as he can take them.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports' Puck Daddy blog tweeted his reaction to the Lundqvist' re-signing on Thursday:

Wyshynski's poignant tweet reinforces how important Nash is to the Rangers' success because it won't matter how good Lundqvist is in net if the team can't support him with some offense.

Nash was inconsistent after returning to the lineup on Nov. 19, and the Rangers were having trouble picking up points because of it. According to Andrew Gross of Northjersey.com, head coach Alain Vigneault called out his team by stating that he needed more from his top guys, and that includes Nash.

Nash is a 6'4", 213-pound power forward who can make a difference, and there is no reason why he can't be a 40-goal scorer and an 80-point player in New York.

The 2002 No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft has not had a multi-goal game this season. That is something that is going to have to change. Nash is one of the NHL's best goal scorers and should be producing at a higher rate in New York.

Active Goals Per Game Leaders
PlayerTeamGamesGoalsGoals Per Game
Alex OvechkinWSH6273920.625
Steven StamkosTBL3902220.569
Sidney CrosbyPIT5002530.506
Jaromir JagrNJD14206920.487
Teemu SelanneANA14106780.481
Evgeni MalkinPIT4872240.460
Dany HeatleyMIN8163660.449
Marian GaborikCBJ7863410.434
Rick NashNYR7303150.431
Quant Hockey

As the Rangers' best offensive player, Nash sets the tone and others look for him to lead. Many fans and pundits suggest that Nash is one of the league's most overrated players. While you could make a case for that, he was a one-man band while in Columbus, doing things the best he could for the Blue Jackets.

Here is a look at Nash's production in the last two games:

Rick Nash's Game Log From Last Two Games
DateOpponentGoalsAssistsPointsPlus/MinusShotsT.O.I
12/2/13WPG000-1718:16
12/5/13BUF1011314:59
NHL.com

Since returning from a concussion that forced him to miss 17 games, Nash has seven points in nine games, and 10 points in 12 games for the season.

He is producing at a team-best rate of 0.83 points per game and is slowly rounding into form.

Nash is surrounded with some solid secondary performers in New York with both Nash and the Rangers having mutually benefited to date. Rangers such as Derek Stepan have developed into quality contributors while Nash has improved his game as well.

Nash has always been known for his deceptive shot and his ability to take the puck to the net, but in New York, he has also learned how to use his reputation. There have been instances in which Nash has set up opponents with great passes because defenders assumed that he would be driving to the net.

In short, the Rangers need goals to win, and Nash has shown throughout his career that he can find the back of the net. He is a key player for the Rangers who sets the tone offensively.

As Nash goes, so will the Rangers this season.

Related

    Pens Come Back to Win Game 1 vs. Caps

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Pens Come Back to Win Game 1 vs. Caps

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: NHL Told Marchand to Stop Licking Players

    NHL logo
    NHL

    Report: NHL Told Marchand to Stop Licking Players

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Rangers’ next coach must find way to fix the defensive chaos

    New York Rangers logo
    New York Rangers

    Rangers’ next coach must find way to fix the defensive chaos

    New York Post
    via New York Post

    McDavid, MacKinnon, Hall Named Ted Lindsay Award Finalists

    NHL logo
    NHL

    McDavid, MacKinnon, Hall Named Ted Lindsay Award Finalists

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report