Rick Nash has likely played his last game as a member of the New York Rangers. The organization decided to sit him against the Montreal Canadiens to prevent any possible injury on Thursday night.
The former first draft pick has garnered plenty of interest as a rental, which makes sense. Playoff teams are always looking for depth scoring and one last piece that could put them over the top. Nash still has some offensive touch and could be a complementary scorer for a squad needing a few more goals once the postseason begins.
The presumed trade will only be the beginning of a whirlwind few months for the forward, however. Once the dust has settled on his new team’s playoff run, it’ll be time to turn his attention to free agency. This summer, for the first time in his 15-year career — barring a re-signing with the club that acquires him at the trade deadline — Nash will be able to explore offers from any NHL team that wants him.
As always happens at that time of year (the silly season, as we call it), the temptation will be to overpay for Nash’s services. Several general managers will have cap space to work with and consider making a high-ball pitch the seven-time All-Star can’t refuse.
This is a warning to that GM who is tempted to overpay for Nash in July: Don’t do it.
During his prime years, Nash was a reliable goal scorer who could also make a massive impact on the power play. When he was engaged, the 6-foot-4, 211-pound wing would use his size to get to the net and wreak havoc on opposing netminders.
At the age of 33 — he’ll be 34 by the time free agency hits — those seasons are a distant memory for Nash. General managers would be wise to pay him for the player he is today and not the player he was three years ago. That’s how many seasons stand between him and his 42-goal 2014-15 campaign, which is recent enough that an NHL team might feel it can put him in the position to score 40 or more again.
Teams must avoid overpaying for Rick Nash in free agency
Fanrag Sports | Feb 23