Well, it's been an interesting week in the hockey world, now hasn't it. We started with the Philadelphia Flyers giving Shea Weber a $114-million offer sheet, and now we're here: With the New York Rangers trading Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round draft choice to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for sniper Rick Nash, a prospect and a third-round draft choice.
Why don't we start with the deal itself, this is a steal for the Rangers. Yes, it opens up holes in the Rangers' lineup, mainly thanks to the loss of Dubinsky's possession and Anisimov's defensive abilities, but when you separate yourself from the "home grown" aspect of this deal you have to appreciate what Glen Sather did.
Sather traded a 27-year-old, 50-point player who just had the worst year of his career (and holds a $4.2-million cap hit for the next three years) and isn't getting any better (Dubinsky), a player with some pretty good offensive upside but hasn't been able to stick in the top two lines (Anisimov), a defenseman who has a huge ceiling, although he tailed off in the AHL playoffs (Erixon) and a first for Nash.
Join me after the jump for more.
Sather sealed the deal without including Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider or Derek Stepan. He sealed the deal without trading Carl Hagelin or Michael Del Zotto. The core, or at least the important core, is still in place. Anisimov is the only piece of that puzzle removed, and you would have to think one of Christian Thomas or J.T. Miller is going to be ready next year to take his place (not at his level of play right away, though).
With Nash, the Rangers acquire a legitimate sniper who can carry the load while Marian Gaborik is out and run wild when he returns. The Rangers' top two lines are simply devastating once Gaborik is back:
Nash - Brad Richards - Gaborik
Ryan Callahan - Stepan - Kreider (Hagelin as an extra)
The Rangers are a better team today than they were yesterday. They can hang with the Flyers if they land Weber, they can hang with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite having two of the best players in the game. Since the lockout, only six players have scored more goals than Rick Nash. Those players (Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Eric Staal and Patrick Marleau) all had a support system around them at some point in their careers. Nash never has.
Maybe that's the most exciting point about this deal. What can Nash do with a player of Richards' caliber on his line? What can he do with a supporting cast?
I wouldn't say 40 goals is out of the question. And when Gaborik comes back, the Rangers have a wealth of weapons on the power play to make sure that last year doesn't happen again. And, when the Rangers need a big goal in the playoffs, they have more than a few players who can put the puck into the back of the net.
Yes, there are holes in the Rangers' losses, mainly with the loss of defense from Anisimov and possession from him and Dubinsky, but they are minor holes compared to the offense hole the Rangers just filled. Nash has a ton of prime left in him, he's playing his home games at Madison Square Garden and he has a chip on his shoulder for all those people questioning his ability.
I'm going to get into line combinations later today, but for now, what do you guys think of the deal?