Here’s a wacky thought. Don’t trade Rick Nash. There, I said it.
A few years ago, I was in Columbus at the same time as their training camp. Columbus had made a few interesting roster moves, and it looked like they were finally doing something that could have a positive impact one their team. And lo and behold, they finally made it to the playoffs.
And yet, things still haven’t worked out for the team. Get a young goalie who looks (albeit briefly) like a stud? Watch him crumble before your eyes. Get a coach who has won a Cup and has a solid defensive system? Watch young players revolt and fire him. Get some forwards and stay at home defensemen with a little experience? Watch them fall apart.
Through it all, you have Rick Nash. The one ray of sunshine for the franchise. The one player who has talent to lead the team for a long time. And of course, he wants out.
So do the one thing he doesn’t want. Don’t trade him. At least, not yet. Tell him he is going to be central to the franchise next season. Tell him you have a plan, and you are going to execute it with him in the spotlight. Tell him you gave him what he wanted when he signed the contract, it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is. And for the team to do the same thing. Tell him you didn’t spend all this time and fan equity to watch the man the franchise is centered around, and the guy the people in the seats love the most, simply walk away.
And then you fire every one else you can. You get your crap together in a way that proves you are doing the right things for the team, and by extension, Rick Nash.
Because no matter what the Blue Jackets get back, they are still going to wreck the team with the same old attitude. They will destroy whatever comes into their roster, just like they have so many times in the past. Last season, they made the big trade for Jeff Carter, then secretly replaced him with Gabe Kotter. Do you think they won’t do the same damn thing with whomever they get for Nash? Of course they will.
Just my two cents.