July 2, 2012

On Rick Nash and Trade Speculation

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)
Brendan Shanahan's goals and league rank in the four seasons prior to joining the Red Wings:
  • 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.


Izzy Wess said...

His goal scoring may be comparable, but Shanahan provided a lot more than that. Both players are physical, and score huge goals from all areas of the ice, including the dirty ones in front of the net. But Shanny was also a fighter. In teh first 8 seasons of his career he had 50 fights. Nash has only 6. I know fighting may not be that important, but it's an important part of what made Shanny who he is.

Keep in mind, he also has the unofficial record for Gordie Howe Hat Tricks. A real versatile player and leader, that Shanny was. I'm sure Nash would be good too, but don't forget about the intangibles when comparing them.

The Triple Deke said...

Fighting was a part of who Shanny was but it was also a different era. Of the top 20 goal scorers this past year, only two had over 100 PIMs, whereas there were seven in 1996. Evgeni Malkin had the 4th most PIMs among the top 20 goal scorers this year and he's not even a fighter. I didn't feel like it would be a fair comparison.

Shanny brought obvious intangibles to the Wings, but I didn't want to go into that because we didn't know how perfectly he was going fit in at the time of the trade. It turned out wonderfully, but he was 27 and already joining his 4th team.

Izzy Wess said...

Good point on the changing times, but better one on how there was no way to no then or now how well he'd fit in. I still feel like that is what made Shanny so special. He was a force on the ice, and really made the Wings a more intimidating team...something we sorely needed then...and I believe now.

I keep hearing the logic that if Nash can score 60pts on the worst team in the league, imagine how many he'll score with the Wings. Do you put any stock in that? It's possible he might, but he also might get lost in the mix/depth a bit. I'd imagine the two cancel out and he stays about the same 30-40 goal scorer he is now...not the 50 goal man people are hoping for.

The Triple Deke said...

I don't put a huge amount of stock in that because his numbers don't blow away that of his other teammates. But when all a guy knows is Columbus, it's hard for anyone to predict.

The Triple Deke said...

I don't put a huge amount of stock in that because his numbers don't blow away that of his other teammates. But when all a guy knows is Columbus, it's hard for anyone to predict.

Anonymous said...

Double posting on your own blog!?! Fuck... No wonder you turned the lights off on this place before... Get your shit together.

Unknown said...

Shanahan? Maybe. I wonder if the Wings have added someone to their roster more recently than that who scored 46 goals at age 28 and about 46 goals total since then. Nah, probably not.