Leafs should take run at Nash

This much is certain: If Brian Burke somehow wriggles Nash out of Columbus, don’t expect there to be the $5 million-plus a year in the pot that Mikhail Grabovski is looking for in a new contract.

Interestingly, those here in Edmonton that know Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson from his days in the Oilers organization claim he will demand smooth-skating defenceman Jake Gardiner as part of any package involving the Leafs. Whatever Howson lands for Nash, it likely will involve at least three or four high-end prospects, young players and/or picks.

Burke’s one concern is that such a deal could wipe out a lucrative cache of young talent it has taken him three years to stockpile. It is a risk, sure. But for a rare talent such as Nash, there are those of us who feel it is worth it.

Then again, there are other teams that likely have more to offer. Given the Jackets’ goaltending woes, Cory Schneider could be offered as part of a package by the Vancouver Canucks, who certainly wouldn’t be pushed around as easily as they were by the likes of the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final with Nash in the lineup. The Los Angeles Kings, who are starving for offence, could use Jonathan Bernier and defenceman Jack Johnson as trade bait for the big winger. The Bruins, Wings, Sharks, Flyers and Rangers are also expected to be in the mix for the Brampton native.

The bidding war will be intense and costly, sure.

But for a guy like Rick Nash, it probably is worth it.