New York would be a better hockey team without Rick Nash.
There, I said it.
Before you sic the dogs on me, allow me to state my case.
Rick Nash is a phenomenal hockey player, a game changer if you will. In his time, he has scored his fair share of highlight reel goals. But, the transition from dull and drab Columbus, Ohio to the tantalizing lights of New York City has been anything but a dream come true.
A lot was known about Nash when he was selected first overall by the Blue Jackets in 2002. He was big, had an absurd reach and the speed and skill that honestly kills. However, what wasn’t known has turned out to be his biggest flaw. Instead of being a force to be reckoned with in the post season, he takes on the form of a ghost. Disappearing offensively for games and in most cases, series on end.
Aside from the 2008-09 appearance in the playoffs which he potted 3 points in four games with the Blue Jackets (which in it of itself is nothing to bat an eyelash at), the real damage comes after the 2012-13 season
Since becoming a Ranger, Nash has played in 61 post season games. Tallying 33 points, only 11 of them are goals. Hardly a player who bleeds the clutch gene.
While the post season may not be his best friend, Nash has no problem seeing himself anywhere in between the mid 20 to 40 goal mark during the regular season. That is of course, if you don’t factor in last season. In 60 games Nash was only able to string together 36 points, which is even worse when you factor in that Benoit Pouliot, Alex Tanguay and Anton Stralman were all in the same sphere.
I’m a guy that likes to string the bad with the good, so in his defense, when Nash plays at least 70 games he’s in the 30-40 goal discussion in his career. But, can we still consider him an elite player?
Yes, his 42 goal campaign two seasons ago is more than enough to silence my somewhat lopsided argument. But I digress, you cannot argue that when you hold 2014-15 and 2015-16 beside one another, there’s a huge disparity between the two.
Regardless, the fact remains. New York cut off a sizable chunk of it’s player pool to acquire Nash from Columbus. This was also the same offseason to which they made the conference finals with what appeared to be a more than capable group on it’s own. So was it worth it?
Nash was billed as one of the best and brightest stars in the game. That being said, it didn’t take long for the bright lights of New York City to show us that Nash certainly isn’t a playoff producer.
With that firmly in mind, what exactly is Nash? In games 1-82 you know exactly what you will get from the titanic winger, but that begins to fog over come the spring.
Simply put, the Rangers are going to need more out of him when they make it back to the playoffs. If Nash hiccups again, especially without Derek Brassard, the championship window in the city that never sleeps may have just been put to rest.