If I had to wager, I’d say the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are the most likely new homes for Rick Nash if there’s a pre-deadline deal.
But there’s certainly an Original Six team that would like Nash’s services if this were June and not February — the Detroit Red Wings.
I also believe Nash would love to play for the Wings, but the odds of him landing in Hockeytown before Feb. 27 are not great whatsoever.
Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit is too large for Detroit to absorb now unless the Red Wings give up roster players that they don’t want to get rid of.
The optics of the Blue Jackets moving Nash to the hated Red Wings are brutal for fans in Columbus. At the very least, the Jackets would make the divisional rivals pay more than most other teams in the mix, not wanting to have Nash parade around in the Central for the next six years.
The Wings are loathe to mess with the chemistry and equilibrium they’ve established as the first-place team in the West and that’s exactly what would happen given that the Jackets are seeking three to five assets in any Nash trade they make.
Nash enjoyed playing for Wings head coach Mike Bab***** at the 2010 Olympics, and I can tell you Bab***** was a huge fan of his at the Vancouver Games. Also, Detroit would not only represent a chance to win every year for Nash, it would be a short flight or a 4½-hour drive from his native Brampton, Ontario (north of Toronto).
Let’s say Nash does survive this deadline and becomes a June transaction. Here’s the question you have to ask yourself if you’re Detroit: Do you spend assets to get Nash or do you wait until July 1 and take a run at Zach Parise, for whom you wouldn’t have to give up assets? Tough call, especially since there’s no guarantee that Parise won’t re-sign with New Jersey or sign with another of the many suitors there will be July 1.