Washington suffered a miserable season. Expectations of a championship season at the beginning of the season seemed reasonable, but the Capís nearly missed the playoffs. Injuries have played a hand of course, but the team was simply not playing well. A coaching change was made in an attempt to shake the team, and its star player Alex Ovechkin
out of the slump to no avail. Is a Blockbuster deal the answer?
One main hurdle to clear in a deal for Rick Nash
is the salary cap. Washington is right up against the cap with less than half a million in space left. But with over $15 million in contracts expiring this summer Washington can afford to fit Nash in long term. One of the contracts expiring is Alex Semin
who earns $6.7 million. Other roster player such as defender Tom Pot
i or John Erskine
included in the deal would allow the cap to fit.
Columbus would covet Washingtonís prospects, players such as Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitri Orlov, and Braden Holtby.
Washington also owns its own first round pick, and Coloradoís first round pick in the upcoming draft. Given the recent trade of Tomas Vokun
, Holtby has been anointed the starter and will not be traded.
Washington has several Russian born players that are part of the core of the team. If General Manager George McPhee believes that is part of the problem, not the solution he may be quite willing to move out Semin, Kuznetsov, and Orlov.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is a highly ranked prospect. The Hockey News ranked him third overall in the last issue of Future Watch. Given the history of Russian players such as Nikita Filatov
and Nik Zherdev
it is questionable if Columbus GM Scott Howson would be interested in more Russians. Columbus owns the second overall pick in this summers draft and will be looking to redefine the franchise largely around this pick. There are several Russian players such as Nail Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Alex Galchenyuk
(actually American with Russian heritage) By drafting one of these players, Kuznetsov could be lured to the NHL as he would be familiar with the other cornerstone player of the franchise.
If Howson is able to add both Kuznetsov, and Yakupov, or Galchenyuk, or Grigorenko they would assuredly become the corner stones of the franchise. Having Russian born veterans would then become invaluable to the development of these two stars. Columbus already has Fedor Tyutin
and Nikita Nikitin
on the roster. With Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, Tomas Kubalik, Maksim Mayorov
, and Jack Johnson
the future begins to look very bright in Columbus.
Washington would be sacrificing a lot of youth, but with young players on the roster such as John Carlson and Karl Alzner
anchoring the blue line for years to come, and forwards Marcus Johansson
and Cody Eakin
insulating Nicklas Backstrom
down the middle the Caps are deep. Having Alex Ovechkin on the left and Rick Nash on the right between Backstrom with Mike Green on the point would be lethal!
It would take a major offer to acquire Rick Nash. Washington may be very eager to do just that to acquire Nash. Nash is a leader, and may not have NHL playoff experience but he has excelled in international play with Canada winning Gold at the Olympics and World Championships. So what would the deal look like?
Perhaps something along these lines; Brooks Laich
, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitri Orlov, John Erskine, and a first round pick for Rick Nash, Aaron Johnson.
Is the deal enough for Columbus? Would Washington give up that much youth? Is there a better offer out there? San Jose can make a strong offer as well. Many other teams will also make solid offers. Up next I will look at what the St. Louis Blues could put together for Nash.
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