Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bobby Ryan v Carter. Anson that is...

It has been a long and torturous day on the Rick Nash trade front.  The most interesting thing has been the amount of vitriol thrown at Nash, and the fact that Howson is refusing to part with his star for anyone's left over pieces-parts.  I suppose as a fan I should feel awkward about having to defend a guy that wants to leave.  I'm a season ticket holder, shouldn't I be offended that the guy asked out?

Look, Nash is not Sisyphus.  If he knows he doesn't have it in him to roll the rock up the mountain one more time, he's being honest about it.  On another team, he won't be rolling the rock up the mountain on his lonesome, so has a good chance of being more successful than he was here.

But I'm getting tired of people trolling Nash, our franchise, and the fair City of Columbus just because we won't roll over and play dead for the big city teams out there.  So I thought I'd do some comparing and contrasting.  Sometimes that way provides clarity.  What does Anson Carter have to do with all this?  Well first of all, it doesn't have to do with criticizing Anson Carter.  He is who he is, he has a nice gig on NHL network, and I wish him well for it.  What it DOES have to do with, is the influence a pair of good line mates can have on a player.  Say for instance, the Sedin Twins.

Anson Carter scored 33 goals one year playing on the same line as the Sedin Twins in Vancouver.  Timing is everything.  If Anson was on the market now he'd be a highly coveted 30 goal scorer.  The CBJ signed Anson late in the summer when it looked like Zherdev might go back to Russia.  Ultimately though, Nicky signed, and Carter turned in a rather pedestrian performance for the CBJ.  Had he been a true 30 goal scorer, it might have been one of the best signings we ever made.  But he wasn't.  And there it is.  What it does show is that it is good to be smart enough to keep your stick on the ice when you are playing on the same line as the Sedin Twins.  And that your line mates can have a large impact on your performance.

So since it seems fair to knock Nash down to every one else in the world, let's play that comparison game again.  Bobby Ryan of Anaheim, another 30 goal scorer has been discussed as being available, and is often held up as the cheaper version of Nash.  Does that comparison hold up?

Let's see, Nash played last year on a line with Derick Brassard (14 G-27A-41P) and RJ Umberger (20-20-40) when he was playing his best hockey in 2011-12.  Since he never really got rolling playing with that other Carter, this seems fair.  Bobby Ryan played on a line with Ryan Getzlaf (11-46-57) and Corey Perry (37-23-60).  It seems plausible that Nash would have had a better season if he had been playing with Perry and Getzlaf, as opposed to Brass and RJ.  Don't get me wrong, I love Brass and RJ, but they are not Perry and Getzlaf.  Under those circumstances, would you trade Ryan for Nash, straight up?  I wouldn't, no way.

The reason I say this, is that there are times when Nash just takes the game on his back.  Sometimes he doesn't choose his times wisely, but how many times did Ryan have to go 1 on 3 against the other teams best checking line?  This is a fairly routine occurrence for Nash.  It's a weakness too, and it inhibits his game, so where ever he goes he'll have to give up on that.  How many times this year did Anaheim's opposition say,' if we just shut down Bobby Ryan, we'll win the game?'  Not likely to be many.  How many times did CBJ opponents say, 'if we just shut down Nash, we'll win the game?'  Is 82 too many?

Rick Nash is a heck of a hockey player.  Darn few people in the NHL have watched him as many times as I have, so I can say that with authority.  Those who say he is overpriced cannot know, so should best be ignored.  Howson is right to stand up for his value.  Howson should be fired if he does not do so.  So it may not be easy, but patience is likely a virtue yet at this time.



  1. Nash is also on the down-swing, on the wrong side of the average age for an NHL prime point producer (being around 25) and has an albatross of a contract. And there's no guarantee that he's going to turn into Anson Carter: one Mr. Dany Heatly, noted former 100-point and 50-goal scorer, was moved to join future-hall-of-famer and setup man extraordinaire Joe Thornton in San Jose. His goal scoring did not improve as he continued to age and eventually fell off like is the case for most players as they age.

    The trick is that that Nash is non-valuable (far from it). The trick is that these high-value pieces that Columbus wants are worth more than Rick Nash. I took a cursory look at this today ( and if I were in the shoes of the Carolina GM or the San Jose GM I'd have a tough time giving up some of my future stars (and current near-Nash producers) like Skinner or Couture for an aging player with a massive contract. I'd be even less likely to want that trade if the other team asked for more than just one young roster player.

    Sure there's more to it that just point production, but looking from afar Nash's best years were producing with low-level quality of competition (from and it's hard to imagine that improving young and cheap (and that's important; their contracts don't restrict future moves) forwards are worth surrendering for an aging not-quite-super-star.

    Yes, Howson should be looking for a big return for Rick Nash and, yes, he has been asking for too much. And believe it or not: these two concepts are compatible.

    1. Ok I can get your point. So if the two concepts are compatible, what do you do? Are you going back to Nash and Resnick and saying 'we value you more than anyone else, you're not going anywhere'? If you listen to Ten Minute Misconduct, and I do, this is not a tenable future. At the end of the day, you don't HAVE to trade him. He can always choose whether he reports. On the other hand, all bridges are burning brightly. So Howson should accept less than he's worth just to move him? I'm not getting (no shock there) the strategy you think is correct.

    2. The Jackets should trade Nash for a value he is worth: a similarly-aged player (or players) with similar-ish production and add in some less-than-certain project players and draft picks (this part is where the extra value can be added, depending on the desperation of the team involved). He is not worth a king's ransom.

      And I say this as someone who considers Nash to be my favorite NHL player: the reality of the situation is that the prices reported by TSN folks and the other GM reactions are to be expected. It's not belittling Nash's value (but to an extent it is removing the emotional connection involved, even for me).

      To ask for the moon is expected (and an acceptable starting point) but not realistic for a final deal. The team should have to expect similar value (or perhaps a slight overpayment) for Nash. Perhaps waiting could garner a bit more, but it's hard for me to imagine getting a franchise cornerstone in return. And this probably isn't a popular view and maybe that's seen as a "loss" to fans, but the Jackets also have to contend with Nash being less than the ultrastar his salary suggests he should have been.

    3. Ya, OK, I see your point. The trick is 'the player'. Use NYR for example. Dubinsky isn't Nash. Who else do you add? And therein lies the problem, because the way the NYR add, and the way we add are probably quite different.

  2. Let me see if I understand. It's perfectly alright for a "desperate' team; i.e. Jackets to overpay for any talent in the free market place. But don't go asking for a higher-than-market , or even comparable return when that door swings the other way. Nashes numbers have been down because he has taken shifts, games, and entire weeks off. I've been known to inquire if there is a physical ailment involved that can excuse the level of play. His play was not the only one to suffer this malady, but it was the most obvious. A nationally televised game, or a Hockey Night in Ca. and there he was, just like he was 22 again. I tend to agree wth an earlier post on this site, at this point, it's nobodys fault but Rick Nash that people aren't lining up for his services, and if the powers that be don't get a proper offer for him then ENFORCE HIS CONTRACT!!! This is not the n.b.a. where all you have to do is show up to get 5 million a year.It isn't as if he can be a much bigger crybaby than carter was before he left.My point is, he put himself in this position, its time for him to accept some of the responsibility. Personally, i'm a little tired of hearing how he has "held this franchise up by himself for so long". Maybe if he wasn't making all those one on three rushes and occasionally passing to an open man, or perhaps down in the crease area(where he has scored so many of his goals) this entire discussion might be different.I will be glad when this is over. It MAY mark a turning point for this franchise, one in which it finally becomes a team, not Rick and the Blue Jackets.


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