Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rebuffed Nash offer maybe for the best

Glen Sather's last attempt to acquire Rick Nash was rebuffed but that might not be such a bad thing.

You just knew Glen Sather had one more trick up his sleeve. Prior to Monday's 3 PM deadline, the Rangers President and GM took one last crack at Rick Nash. Less than a day after basically telling teflon Columbus GM Scott Howson no, Slats made one last offer to acquire the Blue Jacket sniper.

Predictably, he didn't offer Ryan McDonagh or Mike Del Zotto. Top prospect Chris Kreider also remained off the table. However, Sather still made a strong bid by including three big prospects along with Brandon Dubinsky and a No.1 pick. The reported deal would've sent Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon along with forwards Christian Thomas and J.T. Miller to Columbus for Nash.

To be blunt, that is way too much for Nash. But it only would've subtracted one player from a roster that's been good enough to lead Boston by nine points for the conference lead. The temptation to acquire another big scorer and boost our offense was there for Sather. Even if Nash's $7.8 million cap hit might've hurt our future, Slats was willing to roll the dice. Nash is signed through '17-18, meaning whoever gets him this summer has the two-time 40-goalscorer for six years. With uncertainty surrounding the CBA, it's hard to predict what will happen to the cap.

Considering that the Blueshirts must give raises to Del Zotto this summer and key RFA's McDonagh, Mike Sauer, Carl Hagelin, Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan following '12-13, taking on Nash's contract comes with a risk. The Rangers are already locked into Brad Richards ($6.67 million cap hit) for another eight years. That doesn't take into account Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Dan Girardi, who are all up in three years.

With John Tortorella publicly supporting the fact all of our kids stayed, perhaps it's better that Slats' offer was turned down. Miller impressed at the World Junior Championships and Thomas showed off some skill at last year's camp. Erixon already has gotten into NHL games and is likely to be a late recall, which could further improve the blueline. It's unlikely that the Rangers would go to the postseason with Anton Stralman and Stu Bickel as starters. At yesterday's conference call, Sather also hinted strongly that he's looking to sign a certain college prospect. Without saying the name, you get the idea.

At present, the Blueshirts' biggest strengths are in net and on the back end. If they are able to add a kid with scoring touch, it could only bolster their chances. Only time shall tell. For now, they'll go with a tight knit group that's gotten them this far. Either way, the present and future look bright.

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