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The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Rick Nash with the first No. 1 pick in the history of the team. He was to be the squad's cornerstone around which to build. As the only lights-out draft selection that the Jackets have made, he's been just that.
However, being the foundation of a crumbling building and being the foundation of a towering skyscraper are two totally different things.
At every trade deadline, the team popped up in speculation surrounding centers such as Jason Spezza—"we need a No. 1 center for Nash" was the common refrain. The team finally got just that in Jeff Carter.
The Blue Jackets have been built around Nash. While it isn't odd to see a team build around a drafted player, it is particularly rare to see a successful squad constructed around a winger. Look around the league for the proof.
Teams that use a center, defenseman or goaltender seem to do better than teams that are constructed around a winger. I would argue that every Stanley Cup winner since 2000 has been built this way. I'm not saying that wingers aren't important pieces of a team.
What I am saying is that it's uncommon for a top-end (playoff) team to center around a flank.
The Boston Bruins were constructed around Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara. That squad won't be remembered for their fireworks on offense but for their stingy defense and clutch goaltending.
In Chicago, the Blackhawks have Patrick Kane on the wing, but he isn't alone as the guy. He's got Jonathan Toews right there with him at center.
Pittsburgh is a center-first team that was built around a trio of dominating pivots. Ditto for the Detroit Red Wings.
Again, I'm not saying that wingers aren't important players. I am saying they are rarely the sole focus and center of a team's DNA.
In trading Rick Nash away the Blue Jackets would be able to get away from this type of blueprint—a blueprint that hasn't worked for them and doesn't appear to work anywhere else. They'd be free to reevaluate and reconstruct without worrying about "the golden child."