These past few days have just been up and down with rumors, most revolving around Columbus Blue Jackets’ superstar winger Rick Nash, with nobody seeming to know anything at all about what is really transpiring. But before all of that, we had a couple of big deals, the first being Jeff Carter dealt to Los Angeles by Columbus so he could be re-united with former drinking buddy, err…I mean, teammate from Philadelphia, Mike Richards. The return on the trade was defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick. With that, I would say both teams made out rather well. The Blue Jackets get some much-needed offense from the blue line, though Johnson’s defense is anything but solid (I guess you can say he’ll fit right in, then?) as he currently sits at a -12 on the season, and a -90 overall for his career. That’s scary to think about, considering the offense he has put up. Carter, meanwhile, will help a stagnant Kings’ offense, as he will personally be revitalized by playing with a big market team in a city full of night life. You can expect him and Richards to be the bash-brothers they were with the Flyers.
The second deal in the last few days was the Devils acquiring defenseman Marek Zidlicky from the Minnesota Wild, the only surprise here coming by way of what the Devils gave up to get the 35 year-old defenseman who has not scored a goal in nearly a year. The Devils wanted an offensive defenseman, and it’s safe to say Zidlicky was, at one point in his career, but not anymore, unless this trade becomes a wake-up call. Considering Zidlicky played his way off the team both on the ice and with the media, and forced GM Chuck Fletcher to trade him (he even announced that he only wanted to come to New Jersey…hello!), the Devils had all the leverage in the world, but still gave up two draft picks, defenseman (and former member of the Wild) Kurtis Foster, forward Kyle Palmieri, and minor league forward Stephane Veilleux. There are no worries with any of the players here, though Devils’ analyst Ken Daneyko did comment that Foster played well this season, but the draft picks here are what makes me think that sweet ol’ Lou is finally losing it. With the Devils having to forfeit a first round pick sometime in the next few seasons to compensate for the Kovalchuk contract cap circumvention, giving up a second and a third over the next two seasons was not the brightest idea.
The Rangers finally made a deal yesterday, again, not a surprise, when they sent Wojtek Wolski to the Florida Panthers for a third round pick for next season and minor league defenseman Mike Vernace. This is a good deal for both sides—it was clear Wolski was not going to play and was not liked by Tortorella (mind-boggling when you think that this former 20-goal scorer only played in nine games this season, injury aside, and the Rangers having defenseman Stu Bickel play forward in his stead). Wolski will now go to Florida where he can play, and hopefully succeed, as he scored a goal last night in his debut. That said, a third round pick for a guy that only played nine games is a steal if you ask me.
Now we move onto the deal that everyone is talking about, and that is where Rick Nash will end up. After following the saga nearly all day long yesterday on Twitter, and a little bit today, I am convinced that no one knows anything, except that the Rangers are indeed in talks with the Blue Jackets. All the insiders are clueless and the ones pretending they have inside information are enjoying the attention they’re getting sending people into a tizzy. Yesterday, it seemed everything was a done deal, and now as of tonight, it seems that the two teams have broken off talks. Why? Well, take it with a grain of salt, but it looks like the Rangers actually had a deal in place yesterday for Nash, but then today, Howson decided to up the asking price; Sather then backed out because of that classless move. You can take this one of two ways: 1) Talks really are dead, and the Rangers are moving on to a Plan B, or 2) Stepping away is just a ploy by Sather to get Howson to lower his price. The Rangers are in the driver’s seat here, as they don’t need Rick Nash like the Blue Jackets need to unload his expensive contract.
Whether the Rangers still want him or not, I am indifferent on the matter. Nash makes the Rangers better, so long as they don’t have to trade numerous roster players to get him. The Rangers should just sit back and let Columbus hang themselves, and if the noose never gets tied, so be it. You would think Scott Howson would know better than to try to pull a fast one on Sather, who will do his due diligence in making sure he wins the deal, no matter who gets dealt in the end. If, and I say, if the rumor is true, it is a bush-league act by a weasel of a GM, who I hope will enjoy seeing his franchise dwindle even further into oblivion, that is, if he still holds his job long enough. The Rangers need offense, but maybe (and hopefully) Sather’s Plan B includes rental Ray Whitney, who could probably be had for a pick. To add depth, Steve Ott on Dallas would make a great third line center, adding more toughness, and more importantly, face-off skill.
Lastly, what’s the deal with Edmonton re-upping Ales Hemsky with a two-year deal at $5 million per? He is skilled, yes, but has not played a full season since…since…well, he never has. He has been in the league since 2002, and the most he played was 81 games in 05/06, when he reached his career high in points with 77. The most goals he ever scored was 23 in 08/09, the last time he even came close to even attempting a full season, when he played in 72. Since then, his game totals include 22, 47, and 48 (currently) respectively. Unless the Oilers know something that 99.9% of the enter NHL fan base does not, file this under the “What the F___” column in your Head-Scratcher database. $5 million? Geez, Parise must be worth $20 million now.