Will Rick Nash move to Vancouver Canucks?

Columbus player would be an asset, but how would that work?

JOE PELLETIER writes a weekly column on the Vancouver Canucks for www.terracestandard.com

THE 2012 NHL trading deadline got a whole lot more interesting on Tuesday. Columbus made it be known that they are indeed listening to offers for team captain and franchise player Rick Nash.

Nash is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the game. He is also calling the shots here. He has a no movement clause in a contract with six more seasons remaining, which means he is only going to a team he wants to go to. Clearly he has told Columbus he wants out.

Why else would Columbus waste their time listening to offers unless he wants out?

His comments on Tuesday certainly make it sound like is ready to leave, and not just open to the idea.

“I’m a Blue Jacket right now. I’ve played my whole career here and it’s a special place to me. So as of right now I’m a Blue Jacket.”

That hardly sounds like a player who wants to stay put.

It did not take long after this news broke that trade rumours started surfacing in about 29 other NHL markets. Including Vancouver. In fact, some of the talking heads believe Vancouver is a front runner.

These talking heads are talking out of a different part of their anatomy. They put two and two together, knowing Vancouver has the assets to make the trade.  Cory Schneider, of course, would be the centerpiece. The Canucks would have to throw in a someone like David Booth to make the salary cap numbers work. Throw in a first round draft pick and a plausible dream can be quickly dreamed up.

Now Vancouver has not been playing very well lately, despite their continued winning ways. Is a shake up of such magnitude necessary?

Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault are nothing if not very loyal to their players. They really believe this team has what it takes to win the Stanley Cup. To make such a dramatic alteration to their team chemistry would very much surprise me.

Vancouver may have the assets to make a Nash deal happen, but other teams are far more desperate to land a scorer of Nash’s ability. Los Angeles is fighting for a playoff spot, and one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. They have also been after a superstar for several seasons now. And they have the ability to offer an enticing package, including goaltender Jonathon Bernier.

There is no guarantee that Rick Nash will be traded by the trade deadline. The Blue Jackets, who are caught between a rock and a hard place, need to maximize the return on his trade value. That might mean waiting until the off-season when other teams have more salary cap flexibility.

If Rick Nash is traded this season, it will almost certainly not be to the Canucks. Los Angeles and Philadelphia appear to be front runners, with the New York Rangers supposedly also in the mix.

But if Columbus hangs on to Nash until the summer, the Canucks could be much more interested, especially if they stumble in the playoffs. Then the Canucks would have reason to make such a drastic season.

No Big Return Guaranteed – The Blue Jackets should not expect to get fair market value for Nash.

Edmonton traded Wayne Gretzky (and Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley) for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas and draft picks that turned into Jason Miller, Nick Stajduhar and Martin Rucinsky. That’s it!

Then they traded Mark Messier for Bernie Nicholls, Louie Debrusk and Steven Rice.

Pittsburgh traded Jaromir Jagr, one of the 10 greatest offensive players in the history of the game, for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupashuk. I’ve barely heard any of those players!

Point being: Landing Rick Nash might not take as much as you would think.

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