It wouldn’t quite be like the homecoming of LeBron James to Cleveland in 2014.
Actually, it’d be nothing even close to that. But the potential of free agent Rick Nash returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer after a six-year hiatus would certainly be…polarizing.
The report on June 25th that Nash had Columbus at the top of his free agent list had fans divided across the board. He is clearly not the same player he was in Columbus in his first tenure, or in his first few years as a member of the New York Rangers.
Before discussions could get too deep, it was then stated a few days later by Joe Resnick, Nash’s agent, that he is considering retirement. However, the veteran winger still has a home in Columbus (literally), and has hinted in the past of wanting to return at some point and possibly end his career in the city it began in.
While Nash's playing future is currently up in the air, what are the pros and cons of a return, should he decide to lace 'em up in 2018-19?
Natural goal scorer
- Nash has scored at least 15 goals in every season of his NHL career and has scored 30-plus eight times. While he has averaged about (only) 20 goals per season the last three years, the Jackets know their weakness right now is getting the puck in the net. The argument could be made that anything would help.
- While some may have differing opinions, Nash has shown leadership capabilities throughout his career. He was the Blue Jackets captain for the last five years of his time here, and served as an alternate captain in New York. He likely wouldn’t get either of those patches bidding a return to Columbus, but he has shown flashes of stepping up in the past.
- The Jackets have been one of the youngest teams in the league the past few years. While this is to the delight of many, teams with the most consistent success have a handful of veterans and playoff-hardened players sprinkled in. Even though he hasn’t won a Cup, Nash has been to the Stanley Cup Final, further than any current Jacket.
- Nash was in the prime of his career when he left Columbus, but now he's 34. Don’t use Jaromir Jagr as an example that age is only a number – he’s an outlier. Nash's speed obviously isn't where it used to be, and he probably wouldn't be looking to sign anything long-term.
- Anyone remember the eight-year, $62.4 million contract Nash signed with the Blue Jackets in 2010? Well, it’s finally up. After making roughly $8 million per year, it’d be hard to believe that Nash would settle for anything less than $3 million, if he was willing to stave off retirement for more year(s) of professional hockey.
- Nash tied his career high in points in 2015 with 69 but hasn’t even met 40 in the three years since then. His assist numbers have taken a significant hit, but his goal-scoring is really at the meat of it.
Free agency began on July 1st. If the opportunity presented itself, and you were a part the Blue Jackets management – would you attempt to bring Nash back?
Follow 1st Ohio Battery