Rangers considering trade for Nash

The Rangers have conquered distractions all season — including the late September/early October tour through Europe, the omnipresent cameras that recorded HBO’s “24/7” series and the Winter Classic in Philadelphia on Jan. 2 — to roll to a nine-point lead in the Eastern Conference, a 10-point lead in the Atlantic Division and first overall in the NHL with a .718 percentage. Now, however, the Rangers face potentially the most damaging distraction of them all: players dealing with being named in trade speculation in advance of the Feb. 27 deadline, and those specifically who might be involved in a possible mega-deal for Blue Jackets star wing Rick Nash.

“As things heat up, it’s probably a good idea to discuss it in the room,” Brad Richards told The Post before last night’s 3-0 triumph over the Bruins. “It can be a very difficult situation for a player to hear his name involved in trade rumors.

“It’s a part of our business, and you have to learn how to deal with it and to trust things will work out for the best, but having gone through it twice, I know it affected me the first time [before going from Tampa Bay to Dallas at the 2008 deadline] and I know that it can have an impact on a player and a team.”

As reported yesterday on NYPost.com, the Rangers have held preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets regarding Nash, the 27-year-old, 6-foot-4, 220-pound power forward who has a contract with a cap hit of $7.8 million per that runs through 2017-18.

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