Free Agent Profile: Rick Nash

By Sam Blazer on June 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm
Bruins forward Rick Nash skates around during pre-game warmups

Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

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Moving down the free agent list, you encounter a player that many Columbus Blue Jackets fans know: Rick Nash.

After being traded from the New York Rangers to the Boston Bruins this past spring, Nash hovered around a half-a-point per game. It makes the determination on what his value is all the more difficult. He's a year older, but still scores goals – often 20-25 per season – but term will be important.

His production while with the Rangers waned while still keeping good possession stats. His stint with the Bruins didn't give much information to build from, which makes for an even more compelling offseason for Nash as he looks to find perhaps his final NHL stop.

Fit

Looking at the Blue Jackets lineup and trying to find a spot for a top-six winger is tough. At this age, it doesn't look like he has that capability anymore. Can you really block a younger player from a roster spot by signing Nash?

You can fall down a rabbit hole with Nash when trying to find where he fits here. The fit isn't really there unless you squint. You're looking at a 40-point forward at his best that has good possession numbers; the Blue Jackets already have plenty of those types on their team. 

Cost

Considering his age and his lowered production, how big the price cut will be is the question of the summer. Nash was earning $7.8 million before this (on a long-term deal signed with the Blue Jackets under former GM Scott Howson) and will get a fraction of that this time around.

We should start by cutting that number in half and proceed from there. No one is going to give him a multi-year deal at this point, and his injury history isn't sterling either. You're looking at a player going from year-to-year. He will likely look to maximize while he can. 

Players with similar production extrapolated over an 82-game season get paid roughly around $4 million a season (give or take a few hundred thousand dollars either way), which may be too rich for the blood of many contending teams.

Likelihood

6/10

Let's not get too excited about Nash coming to Columbus. He would need to take a big pay cut, and he would have to play in a reduced role. If he has a desire to return to the Blue Jackets, that would likely be the only avenue. The Blue Jackets are inching closer and closer to full-time contender status and will be looking to add a final piece. 

Nash doesn't feel like that solution.

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