Category Archives: Colombus Blue Jackets
1. Rick Nash, LW, Columbus: If talk indeed turns to action, Nash will be dealt this summer.
The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks were left at the altar at the February trade deadline because they weren’t willing to pay the massive price being demanded by Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson.
The Jackets are in a tough spot because Nash has made it clear he wants out. His $7.8-million cap hit through the 2017-18 season means only certain teams can be involved in the discussions and he has to approve any deal.
Nash wants to be moved to a contender. The Rangers and Sharks both need scoring. Don’t be surprised if the Buffalo Sabres try to get into these discussions.
2. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver: There are a lot of teams looking for goaltending: Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus and the Chicago Blackhawks to name a few.
The issue is the contract given to Luongo by Canucks GM Mike Gillis. He always considers himself the smartest guy in the room, but giving Luongo a deal through with a cap hit of $5.3 million through 2021-22 was ridiculous.
Moving the contract is going to be even more difficult. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman has declared he wants nothing to do with that kind of trade. Toronto GM Brian Burke would have to swallow his pride to acquire Luongo.
Burke has often been an opponent of long-term deals. Perhaps the only hope for Gillis and the Canucks is an “amnesty” clause in the new CBA. That would allow the Canucks to buy him out and not have a cap hit.
The Washington Capitals’ trade of Tomas Vokoun, and his subsequent two-year contract in Pittsburgh, takes a talented veteran goalie off of the market. Boston’s Tim Thomas has decided to take a year off to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets’ Curtis Sanford has agreed to play in Russia next season in the KHL.
In a roundabout way, those moves may improve the Sharks’ chances of landing Columbus captain Rick Nash, something they reportedly did around last February’s trade deadline.
The Blue Jackets have already made it known that they are looking for a different look in goal next season from starter Steve Mason, who was dreadful, as Columbus posted the worst record in the NHL. Our friends at ProHockeyTalk.com point out that the Blue Jackets have just two goaltenders signed for next season – Mason, and the 22-year-old Allen York, who has just 11 games of NHL experience.
If they do in fact decide to move Nash, as is expected, you can assume that the Blue Jackets would want a netminder in return as part of the deal. The Sharks’ prospect pool is thin, but goaltending is still one area that is considered a position of strength within the organization.
The Sharks have starter Antti Niemi locked up for another three years at a cap hit of $3.8 million according to CapGeek.com, while backup Thomas Greiss is signed through next season at $587,500. Prospect Alex Stalock, who looks to be completely recovered from a serious nerve injury more than a year ago, is a restricted free agent, as is AHL All-Star Tyson Sexsmith. Harri Sateri, another minor leaguer, has one year remaining on his deal.