Rick Nash is still the captain of the Blue Jackets, but that could change any day now if Columbus general manager Scott Howson can swing the trade that Nash so desires with one of the six teams he reportedly will go to.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Nash, who has a full no-trade clause in his contract, has told Howson he would approve a trade to one of these teams: the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
Howson is asking for a hefty ransom in exchange for the best player in Blue Jackets history. Nash is under contract for the next six seasons at a cap hit of $7.8 million.
Columbus Blue Jackets' captain Rick Nash reportedly has a list of six teams he'd accept a trade to. (Photo: Getty Images)
As we wait to see where Nash will end up, or if Howson will actually deal him (he's under no obligation to trade the franchise's all-time leading scorer), let's analyze the six possible destinations and how Nash would fit in. Of course, we're going to do this without any knowledge of who would be leaving town in a trade for Nash, but we'll take a look at some possibilities anyway:
NEW YORK RANGERS
Why pursue: The Rangers' immediate need for Nash, who has scored 30 or more goals in seven of his nine seasons, is obvious with Marian Gaborik expected to be out until possibly December after undergoing shoulder surgery. Beyond that, the Rangers' need for Nash is obvious because, well, they already needed to score more. After averaging 2.71 goals per game in the regular season, they dipped to just 2.15 goals in the playoffs -- and came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Fit: Nash could work in New York because the Rangers have the centers in Brad Richards and Derek Stepan who could distribute the puck to him. While Richards playing with Gaborik wasn't exactly like putting oil in water, it also didn't bring out the best in either guy. Just speculating here, but it's possible Nash, a guy who needs the puck, would fit better with Richards with rookie Chris Kreider on the left side.
Capology: Nash would become the highest-paid player on the team, but that would be the case for five of the six teams on his approved list (Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin making $8.7 million per season). The Rangers would be able to take on Nash's contract without having to give up salary in return, but odds are that's not what they would want to happen.
Who could go: The Rangers would likely want to include Brandon Dubinsky and his $4.5 million cap hit in the deal, but Howson clearly will need a lot more than a guy who had just 34 points last season, down from the 54 he had in 2010-11. Other names that could be in the mix include Michael Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin, Tim Erixon, Christian Thomas, and Ohio native J.T. Miller.