It was a saga that threatened to swallow the summer of 2012, an unavoidable trade that worried some Blue Jackets fans sick and served as an advertisement that the Jackets were a franchise for which the most patient of superstars no longer wanted to play. One year ago today it all came to a head when Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets’ Mr. Everything, was traded to the New York Rangers, fulfilling a request he’d made six months earlier. The Blue Jackets acquired centers Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick that was spent on rough-and-tumble winger Kerby Rychel at last month’s draft. “I know it was a long, drawn-out affair,” said John Davidson, the Blue Jackets president of hockey operations who ran the St. Louis Blues when the trade was made. “Deals of that magnitude are really hard to put together. There are only so many teams Rick would go to, only so many of those teams that were interested, only so many of those teams that had salary cap space, and only so many that were willing to give up the assets that (former Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson) was asking for. So it’s a puzzle that had to fit, and that takes time.” When the trade went down, Howson and the Blue Jackets were blistered by many in the national hockey media. “This is a disaster for the CBJ,” said former Blue Jackets GM Doug MacLean, who now works for Canadian TV network Sportsnet. ESPN’s Barry Melrose said, “I don’t think that’s enough (in return).” TSN’s Aaron Ward said, “I feel bad for Columbus.” Clearly, the Blue Jackets gave up the best player in the trade. Nash is a perennial All-Star, an Olympic gold medal winner, etc. But the trade had a transformative effect on the Blue Jackets, both on the ice and in the room. Dubinsky and Anisimov helped set the tone for what became a much faster, hard-working team. “It gave us depth,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “We went into the season knowing our strength was our defense, but with Arty and Brandon being able to play so well down the middle, it really stabilized our lineup, gave us more competitive lines, and we used those guys in just about every aspect of the game.”