Nash era ends in Columbus as Rangers get their man

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Rangers completed their long-running pursuit of Columbus captain Rick Nash on Monday, acquiring the star forward via trade for a package of three players – Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon – and a first-round draft selection in 2013.
 
The trade comes almost five months after the Rangers unsuccessfully attempted to pry the former Jackets captain from Columbus at the February trade deadline. GM Scott Howson rebuffed their advances then, banking on a July 1st feeding frenzy that never quite transpired.
 
Speaking on the protracted process, Nash said: “It was a lot of limbo, for sure. It was a tough time, a tough period of five months.”
 
Nash’s small list of acceptable destinations – which reportedly never lengthened – made finding a suitable trade partner a tough task for Howson. The Jackets GM would have liked Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan or defenseman Ryan McDonagh from New York, but that was a non-starter which Blueshirts GM Glen Sather had no intention of budging on.
 
In Dubinsky, Anisimov and Erixon, Columbus acquire two NHL-ready forwards and a puck-moving prospect defenseman. It may not be the desired return of blue-chip youth and top-end roster talent the club had craved in exchange for their star asset, but Howson’s hands were largely tied by Nash’s no-trade clause. After all, it’s hard to hit a homer without a bat. 
 
“This is not a trade where we think we’re going to be better five years from now,” said Howson during Monday’s conference call. “We think we can be better next year and we think these players can help us do that.”
 
From the Rangers perspective it’s hard not to be pleased with Sather’s work. The club gave up expendable depth to fill an organisational need at left-wing. Dubinsky and Anisimov are fine role players, and Erixon may turn in to a solid top-four defenseman in Columbus, but none of the three should be a stumbling block when it comes to acquiring elite talent like Nash.
 
There are questions to be asked of course. Will Nash click with Brad Richards? Will he wilt under the bright lights of Broadway? And will his offensive numbers decline for a fourth consecutive season? All very valid points. 
 
But make no mistake, the Rangers filled an organisational need without subtracting from their young core. The addition of Nash will help the Blueshirts quest next spring for a first Stanley Cup since 1994, and right now that’s Sather‘s biggest concern.
 
Contact the author – alex.nunn@prohockeynews.com Follow us at Twitter @prohockeynews @aj_range

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