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The Rangers had the league’s best goalie and a top-three defense when they marched to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011-12. The team’s only weakness was its offense.
If the Rangers were to take the next step, Marian Gaborik could not be the team’s only offensive threat. And with Columbus’ Rick Nash on the market, it made sense for Sather to kick the tires.
Except, Sather did a lot more than just take a flier. He traded the depth that made the Rangers such a hardworking team. Fan favorites Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, along with promising prospect Tim Erixon and the team’s 2013 first-round selection were shipped out to Columbus in exchange for Nash and spare parts.
In the lockout shortened 2012-13 regular season, Nash was superb, scoring 21 goals and 42 points in 44 games.
It wasn’t until the playoffs that the headache began.
In 12 games—the 12 most important games of the season—Nash scored just once. Despite his own personal shortcomings, the Rangers advanced to the second round, but they couldn’t overcome the big, bad Bruins with their top scorer floundering like a fish out of water.
Despite the bad taste in their mouths, Rangers fans looked toward 2013-14 with promise for Nash. Yet this time, Nash struggled during the regular season, too.
He scored 26 goals in 65 games, yet the tally would have been much lower if he hadn’t potted 11 in 11 games in January. His point total was a cringe-worthy 39.
But again, always looking forward, they made it to the playoffs.
The Rangers would march all the way to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994. Nash must have kicked it into sixth gear, right?
Three goals in 25 games. He had the opportunity to win Game 5 in overtime and prolong the series, but he missed, like he had done so many times before.
The Rangers gave up their heart and soul for a player who can’t get it done when it matters most. A throwback to the late '90s and early 2000s when Sather paid no attention to the farm and threw contracts at aging stars in hopes that he could assemble an all-star team.
I guess some things never change.