Nash on re-signing with the Jackets: "If everything lined up right"

Light the LampSenior Writer IJuly 25, 2008
The Dispatch ran a story this morning regarding Rick Nash's opinion on the Jackets offseason. He gave the text book answers that he's excited, etc, etc. Howerver where it gets really interesting is when the article starts talking about Nash's long term future with the Jackets. He's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in two years time:

"It's always in your head obviously about (where) your following years will be," said Nash, who scored 38 goals last season. "I'm happy in Columbus; I love it in Columbus. I would stay here if everything lined up right."

The quote that stands out of course is the "If everything line up right".

Fans from here to Toronto will read into that statement in many different ways. Does "lining up right" refer to money, term, winning, playoffs, coaching, committment, management?

I would suspsect its a combination of all of that.

GM Scott Howson left no doubt as to what the organization's plans are:

"Hopefully, (a new contract) is something we can arrive at mutually," Howson said.

One option is a "lifetime" deal similar to the one Tampa Bay Lightning lavished on captain Vincent Lecavalier. The 28-year-old center agreed to an 11-year, $85 million contract on July 12. In January, the Washington Capitals locked up Alex Ovechkin for 13 years at $124 million.

"We have not done one yet," Howson said. "But if we were going to do it, Rick is the person we would like to do it with.

"Obviously, we want him to be with the Jackets for a long, long time, but it's still very early in the process and we have him under contract for two more years."

The bottom line is this - there is really no sense in worrying about Nash until July 1st of next offseason. If the Jackets can't get him signed at some point next summer to an extension then that will be the time to ramp up the speculation.

Nash is the captain. He is the franchise. There is a lot of pressure on him to lead this team to the playoffs. He seems up to the challenge as great players do. Howson has surrounded him with quality linemates and there are a lot of young players to get excited about in the pipeline.

If the Jackets can go out and have a successfull season it will certainly go a long way towards getting Nash and fans excited again about this franchise and quite frankly who would want to jump ship just when its finally setting sail.

Here is a good read on the St. Louis Blues and their chances at the post-season. There is a Jackets nugget included:

Nevertheless, is it fair to expect them to give Detroit a run for their money in the Central Division next year? (I’ll wait ‘till you’re done laughing out the answer before I continue.)

Is it smart to think the Blues will be better than a Chicago Blackhawks squad that looks primed and ready to make a huge jump in the standings?

Is it rational to assume St. Louis will finish ahead of the Nashville Predators, who still have more or less the same healthy mix of youth and experience that secured a playoff spot for them last year?

Heck, even the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets appear to be at least somewhat improved.

And let’s not forget about teams outside of the Blues’ division; if you assume Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim, and Dallas are playoff locks in the Western Conference, are you honestly prepared to say St. Louis will edge out Minnesota, Calgary, Edmonton, Phoenix, and Colorado – not to mention their Central Division foes – for one of the final four post-season berths?

To me the only locks are Detroit and San Jose. I think the West will be wild and is wide open this year - lots of competitive teams - and it wouldn't suprise me in the least to see a perenial contender the last few years take a nose dive.
The Jackets have signed Michael York according to Puck-rakers to a 2-way contract. I'll have some anaylsis on that deal a little later today.
-LTL

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