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Columbus, Ohio — After months of waiting, the Rick Nash saga is finally over. The high scoring forward was dealt Monday afternoon and there was no surprise in the destination.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded their star Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for three players and a first round pick. He has gone from being a Blue Jacket to becoming a Blue shirt. Nash went to Columbus management back in January asking to be dealt. In exchange for the All-Star forward the Rangers send to Columbus forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov along with defenseman Tim Erixon and a first round draft pick in 2013.

 

Besides getting Nash, the Rangers also received minor league defenseman Steven Delisle and a conditional third round pick in the deal. The Rangers could you the offense as they failed to score more than three goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. Nash is a former NHL goal-scoring champion, who has never played for a contender, but has the potential to flourish under the bright lights of New York City.

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Nash is very happy to get this deal over with and it has been a long time coming. In an interview Nash said, “There was a lot of limbo for sure. It was tough period. The good thing now is it’s over and I can look forward to next year.” Nash believes the Rangers are one the best teams in the league and they fit his style very well.

 

The sentiments were echoed by New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather, “We’re happy to have a five –time All-Star on our team and a 40-goal scorer. He will help us immensely.” Sather the architect of this deal was very happy to land the All-Star forward, who has been able to restore his image over the last two years.

 

Sather had been known for paying too much for talent past their prime and signing players to bad contracts. The process of restoration for Sather started when he was able to trade Scott Gomez to Montreal for Ryan McDonagh and it culminated with the free agent signing of Brad Richards last off-season and the trade for Rick Nash this off-season. Sather was able to trade for Nash without giving up any of his top prospects and core players.

 

Talks between Sather and Columbus general manager Scott Howson started to heat up last week and picked up steam on Monday. The Rangers were one of the teams rumored to land the All-Star forward back at the trade deadline, but nothing was able to get done until yesterday.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets held a news conference yesterday to address the media about the trade that happened with the New York Rangers involving Rick Nash. Howson thanked Nash for all his contributions over the nine years he played in Columbus as he became the face of the franchise. Howson mentioned the fans may need some time to take it all in.

 

“This is difficult for people to accept when you trade what is arguably your best player,” he said. “We understand the fans (might find it) difficult to understand this or (be) upset with this. But this is something that we did because we think it’s going to better our hockey club. We got the right value for Rick. It’s all about moving forward.”

 

The last part of Howson’s comments has been a point of debate ever since the trade happened. Many experts around the National Hockey League have questioned Howson’s statements wondering if this was truly the best deal on the table how come this deal was not made at the trade deadline back in February or at the NHL Draft in June.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets did not get enough for Rick Nash. They got a good player in Brandon Dubinsky, who will be a good fit on their second line and who can potentially score 40 or 50 points. Many feel Dubinsky just had an off year and will bounce back nicely this season whenever it starts. Artem Anisimov is an unproven talent, who at times shows dashes of being good, but needs to be more consistent. Tim Erixson has the most upside out of the deal as he can be a top four defenseman on the Blue Jackets.

 

Scott Howson was originally looking for young prospects and a top six forward, but he did not get that. Howson waited and was criticized for doing so. The Rangers did not have to give up Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Chris Kreider, or Michael Del Zotto. These players were originally rumored to go in a trade for Nash, but ultimately the Rangers never caved in.

 

Rick Nash is entering the third year of an eight-year contract that he signed in 2010.  The contract carries an average annual cap hit of $7.8 million. Rangers have $13.9 million under the cap to potentially make another move if they so chose.

 

Nash is one of the more decorated players in the National Hockey League. He won a gold medal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics. He has played in four World Championships winning gold in 2007 and silver in 2005 and 2008. He also shared the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2004, scoring 41 goals to lead the league along with Ilya Kovalchuk, then of Atlanta, and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.

 

Nash is coming off a season in which he had 30 goals and 29 assists while playing all 82 regular season games for the Blue Jackets. In his nine seasons with the Blue Jackets, he has compiled 289 goals and 258 assists in 674 NHL games.

 

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets rebuild has continued this offseason. The management of Blue Jackets believed the three skilled young players they acquired will improve their team. At the trade deadline sent Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup, in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick.

 

The Blue Jackets traded for Ottawa Senators forward Nick Foligno earlier in the summer. The team also acquired goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and drafted Ryan Murray with the second overall pick at the NHL Draft. Columbus believes they have advanced this team out of the cellar to a team that competes for a playoff spot in the future.

 

The Blue Jackets have one playoff appearance in 11 years of existence, and now own three first round draft picks in 2013.

 

 

 

 

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