New Names, New Faces – Part 2
The other big news from the postseason in terms of player movement happened well after a week into free agency. Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash, who had been the face of the struggling franchise since its inception, had been rumored to be unhappy and wanted to be traded to a contender, going back well into last season. Scoring no less than thirty goals per year every year since his rookie campaign, Nash was thought to be the offensive piece someone needed to get over the top. With no shortage of suitors, the asking price for the talented forward had always been seen as too high until a deal was finally struck with our Atlantic Division rivals, the New York Rangers.
In exchange for Nash, the Rangers traded away three young players in forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Ansimov, as well as defenseman Tim Erixon. Dubinsky is the best known player of the three being offered to Columbus. The Blue Jackets hope he does better than his ten goal performance he scored last season as he had performed much better in earlier campaigns, even though he is only 24 years old. By trading Nash for younger talent, the Blue Jackets are starting a rebuild in earnest, which while it might be necessary, will be unlikely to excite their beleaguered fan base.
As for the Rangers adding Nash, it's safe to say the Atlantic just got tougher again, and will very likely be one of the toughest divisions to win in hockey, having produced the last three teams to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.
Of more interest to Penguins fans is to see the eventual decision of Coyotes' captain Shane Doan. With continuing uncertainty about the franchise's viability in Phoenix, a decision in that saga will likely be coming soon with the Penguins as well as their divisional rivals having shown interest in the 35 year old winger.