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.