For the past several games, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been showing a serious interest in the New York Rangers, so much so, that on Saturday in Philadelphia, their General Manager Scott Howson was in attendance as well. While no one knows exactly who they are interested in, or if the Rangers are even willing to make a deal, we do know that something is definitely brewing, because it is not often that a team’s GM tags along to scout a game. This leaves us to speculate on who exactly could be on the move within the next couple of weeks. There are only two players on the Blue Jackets that would even come remotely close to helping them, but each one comes with some serious baggage by means of an enormous contract. They are center Jeff Carter and left wing Rick Nash. Even though the Rangers sit in first place in the Eastern Conference, they are in no doubt in need of another offensive presence, yes, even after Gaborik and Richards seem to have broken out of their funk over this past weekend. But at what cost will the Rangers act?
Nash is definitely the most dangerous of the two, though they are both having a down season. He is 27 and has scored 40 goals twice, while hitting the 30 mark four other times in addition to those. He has been in the league for nine seasons now, and has failed to reach thirty only twice: the first in his rookie year, and the second in 2006/07. Even in the year prior, when he missed nearly 30 games due to injury, he still managed to pot 31. He is a prototypical power forward, something the Rangers could use, and has a nice size at 6’4”, 216 pounds. He will also drop the gloves on occasion, not that the Rangers do not already have a plethora of scrappers. All said, he is a very tough player and is always a threat to score, but his cap hit is at $7.8 million, and has six years remaining on his contract. That is a scary number, because it would remind me of the time when the Rangers had Gomez, Drury, Redden, and Rozsival; not in the sense of high price, low skill, but that so much money would be tied up in so perhaps the player who has been in the league since age 18 is running out of gas.
That’s the negative, but then I think to myself, how dangerous would a line of Rich Nash, Brad Richards, and Carl Hagelin or Ryan Callahan be? If they actually had any shred of chemistry, they would make a formidable line, and finally give the Rangers a 1-2 punch of Gaborik and Nash. Richards, who has looked much better of late, could ignite the struggling Nash and finally have someone to pass to, and the center who has hit 40 assists or more eight times would be back in his groove. That is what we have to ponder here, but the money still scares me.
Next comes Jeff Carter, who Rangers fans should already know from his time in Philadelphia. He carries one of the longest contracts in the league today, at 11 years, but has a much more manageable cap hit, $5.2 million. Plain and simple, Carter is worth his cap hit, but Nash is not worth his. Carter was injured earlier this season, but he has 12 goals in 35 games, during this nightmare year for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Though people think passing when they think of centers, Carter has scored 30 goals or more in his three previous seasons, including 46 in 2008/09, and would have probably hit it again this season if he stayed healthy. He also plays a little on right wing, which can make him an option for Brad Richards’ line. Even still, that 11 year contract just screams, “Stay away!”, to me, but I’m still attracted to that cap hit.
In other words, I would probably not want either Nash or Carter, but if I had to choose, I will go out on a limb and take Carter. People will immediately be scared of the contract, but he is only 27 and still has a lot of goals left in him that need to be scored. But again, I would only take him if he would be used as a winger with Richards, because then the Rangers would have a problem of too many centers, none of which have any solid wingers to pass to, except Stepan to Gaborik. So what do you think, who would you want from Columbus, if anyone? Take some time to vote in the poll below!