In yesterday's post when I barely had the wherewithal to accept that Jordin Tootoo is a member of the Detroit Red Wings, I made mention of our large stable of forwards and, like many have already, wondered aloud if a trade was imminent.
Even if we don't land Zach Parise today (which I think is a decent bet just because Ryan Suter is a higher priority), I still think a trade would be one of lower profile than, say, Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. Nash's name has seemingly been on the trade block forever and Columbus GM Scott Howson thinks he's getting like 10 yachts filled with gold coins in return for his star player. That's not happening unless he finds a loophole that allows him to negotiate a deal with himself. As for Bobby Ryan: I've seen weirder things happen, but trading the youngest, cheapest, and least dickish member of their Big Three sounds like a pretty dumb move by the Anaheim Ducks, even if they've alienated him with trade rumors.
But back to Nash. Because I feel like writing something that will be lost to irrelevancy once the big free agents sign today, let's make a harebrained comparison to former awesome Red Wing and should-be Hall of Famer, Brendan Shanahan. (IMPORTANT: I have been fairly vocal, at least on Twitter, about how I can't picture any form of a Nash-to-Detroit trade that I would be happy with because of his $7.8 million cap hit through 2018, unless Ken Holland completely jobs Scott Howson to the point where Howson is sent to prison for the murder of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is more or less a look at how the two compare as a means of cushioning the blow of a stupid Nash-to-Detroit trade, which again, I can't see happening anyway.)
Good, now we've established how pointless this is. Nash's value and his production has actually slowly declined since its peak in the 08-09 season, back when he put the fear of god into me. But it's not like he's bad or anything close to it; it's just that every season short of elite looks gross in the shadow of a near $8 million cap number. It looks even more gross when you consider that Scott Howson wants at least one NHL-caliber talent and at least a couple of highly touted prospects and then some in return for the face of the Columbus franchise. But putting everything in a vacuum: Rick Nash is a 28 year-old power forward on a bad team, plays left wing, runs about 6'3"/220 and is put on the ice to score goals. Man, when you dumb it down that far it sounds a whole lot like the 1996 version of Brendan Shanahan. They're even both from Ontario! Okay I'll stop.
Let's look at this first, though:
Rick Nash's goals and league rank the past four seasons:
- 2008-09: 40 (5th)
- 2009-10: 33 (13th)
- 2010-11: 32 (14th)
- 2011-12: 30 (25th)
- 1992-93: 51 (13th)
- 1993-94: 52 (5th)
- 1994-95: 20 (25th)
- 1995-96: 44 (13th)
When looking at where they stacked up against the rest of the league, those numbers are eerily similar. Both guys finished 5th in goals one year and 25th in another; Nash had a #13 and #14 finish while Shanahan had a pair of #13s. That's an average league rank of 14.25 (Nash) to 14.00 (Shanny). 2012 will be Nash's age-28 year; 1997 was Shanny's age-28 year. Rick Nash is currently on the worst team in the league; Brendan Shanahan was on a non-playoff team that moved to North Carolina the next season (Worse? Not relevant? Yes and yes.) Not saying he's Rickdan Nashahan -- but those numbers are very similar.
Nash has been cast off by some hockey fans (re: me) as someone who is not close to being worth what the Blue Jackets want to get back from a potential trade partner. But maybe "he just needs the right teammates!" isn't just a cop-out. There's at least a similar precedent here, albeit an unlikely one to duplicate. So if Howson feels like committing career suicide to make a deal with the Wings, I can at least talk myself into the Rick Nash Era. Sort of.