Earlier today, the hockey world exploded with the news of a Rick Nash trade. Often-criticized GM Scott Howson of the Columbus Blue Jackets finally found an appropriate price from New York Rangers GM Glen Sather, receiving forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round pick in 2013 in exchange for his long-time captain and franchise player.
Let’s take a look at how this deal breaks down. Try the most thrilling casino games at PartyCasino.
Rick Nash to the New York Rangers
Over his nine year career in Columbus, Rick Nash has done everything asked of him. He was a leader on and off the ice, and a dynamic scorer throughout years of strife. However, he has never had a great opportunity to succeed in a division with the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and Chicago Blackhawks. Furthermore, outside of Jeff Carter, he never had a top line player to match his talent level.
Forced to play alongside minor talents like Andrew Cassels, Manny Malhotra, and more recently, Derick Brassard and Antoine Vermette, this exodus to the Big Apple should help the 28-year-old thrive. Not only does he move from a non-playoff team to a legitimate contender, he now has many more options to play with on both the power play and at even strength.
His options — Derek Stepan and Brad Richards — both could be characterized as playmaking centers, capable of posting 40-50 assists in a scoring tandem. By comparison, Nash hasn’t played with a 40-assist player in two seasons, and even then it came from fellow winger Kristian Huselius. Suffice to say, his options down the middle will immediately improve in New York.
Furthermore, we might finally get to see Nash’s full potential– one that is universally acknowledged in his international play; Nash has 53 points in 54 games playing with some of his country’s finest skaters.
If we see Nash fully healthy, he should reap benefits for fantasy hockey owners. While #61 might be deemed overrated for his lackluster, 60-point seasons, he should have more to play for with his new organization. Those maintenance days and games off when the Blue Jackets were out of contention could turn into stepping up in adversity. Simply put, we don’t think he’ll quit in the middle of a stretch run.
Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, & Tim Erixon to the Columbus Blue Jackets
From a fan’s perspective, watching these young guys play in anything but Ranger blue will be tough. In fact, just two seasons ago, Dubinsky and Anisimov made up two-thirds of the team’s top line, playing alongside captain Ryan Callahan. Now they bring their talents, and potential talents, to Columbus with a chance to start anew.
Dubinsky’s 2011-2012 campaign could not have been worse. After nearly forcing arbitration last season, Dubi signed a costly deal with a cap hit of $4.2 million. Such a cap hit fits for a 25-goal, 55-point scorer, but it certainly did not fit in his role of last season — a third liner with a little bit of production. Dubinsky was snake-bitten despite numerous opportunities to break out of his funk. Should he bust out of the gate– as he’s done most of his career– he should be fine in Columbus. But his upside at this point in his career is likely a second liner.
On the other hand, Anisimov is a bit of a wild card. The skilled Russian fell in his draft year due to xenophobic concerns, but Anisimov has shown nothing to characterize him as lazy. Like most young players he hit rough patches, but the effort and determination always was apparent. And despite a down season, Anisimov should be able to hit the 40-50 point plateau with added responsibility on a scoring line.
As for Erixon, many really like his opportunity in Columbus. However, with talented defenseman like Fedor Tyutin, Jack Johnson, Ryan Murray, Nikita Nikitin, and John Moore already on the left side, it’s hard to see where he will get substantial playing time. He did well in his first year in North America, but it remains to be seen exactly where he fits in with the Blue Jackets. Nevertheless, keep your eye on the situation as he is a prospect with a legitimate for production.
What do you think of the trade? Who do you think won? Furthermore, Who are the fantasy hockey winners and losers?