by Timo Seppa
Ryan Wagman asked me for my take on the Rick Nash trade to the New York Rangers, and as I responded to him, I might as well share what I said with you all, too…
New York didn’t completely “give up the farm”, so that at least is pleasantly surprising compared to what had been rumored over the past several months. I saw Erixon a few times this year–mostly with the Whale–and he didn’t pop out to me. With Erixon being formerly disgruntled in Calgary and forcing his way out, it’s odd that Columbus would want to deal with any potential issues. Then again, no one will ever want to deal with Erixon if he ever does anything like that again.
Dubinsky’s undervalued by the mainstream, but I understand that his cap and Anisimov’s were part of making the deal work. Anisimov was overvalued a couple years ago by the mainstream because of counting stats; now he’s overvalued by the stats community based on advanced stats. I’ve seen him play a lot. Yes, he drives play somewhat, but he’s nothing to write home about. He’s decent. Dubinsky can be a fairly good centerman, not just a wing. Gritty player for a skill guy, too–he cleaned Ovechkin’s clock two seasons ago in a fight. All season long they talked about Dubinsky’s swoon in points, and particularly goals, but he received really tough checking assignments, high defensive zone starts, lost over a minute of PP time (while being moved to the 2nd unit) and two minutes of ES time. The dropoff wasn’t as big as it appeared. He’ll be a good player for Columbus.
The first round pick isn’t as big a deal because Rangers will be a playoff team.
Nash is on the decline already–slowly–and no, I don’t buy into the fact that better linemates on the Rangers will change his counting stats. Didn’t improve Richards. Nash’s contract doesn’t look great now but who knows what the next CBA will make everything look like. Most people don’t understand that a forward’s peak scoring is around age 25, so saying that Nash is in his prime is a bit off, and I read plenty of that.
While the trade is okay for New York, I don’t fundamentally like this add, as the Rangers seemed to have turned the corner, have gotten rid of underperforming older players over the past couple seasons while developing/trading for a nice, young, skilled core. While talented, Nash comes across about as dull as plain toast. If the Rangers were going to add a major piece, even a slightly aging one, I would have liked what would have felt like a better fit for a team looking for finishing piece to a championship roster, not just 25 or so goals worth of hired gun. I suggested Doan as a trade to the Rangers in February (before the Coyotes went on a hot streak) and many people turned up their noses at the thought. Doan would have been the right type of fit, without giving up any young players. You hold onto those for something special, ideally.