All Aboard The Trade Deadline Train: Next Stop For Nash and Grabner?
The Rebuild Will Be Televised:
In case you missed it, reports are coming in that it is indeed finally time for a New York Ranger Rebuild. What Does the Rebuild mean for the Rangers? Well, we can at least confirm that the New York Rangers are sellers at this year’s Trade Deadline. A rebuild, either “on the fly” or absolute is on the horizon. Recently, Forever Blueshirts also reported that “As Rangers fall, players’ trade stock rises” predicting that UFAs Rick Nash and team leading goal scorer Micheal Grabner will be two names we’ll be saying goodbye to on or before February 26th. With this in mind, what teams are buying? Which teams buying have the need for either player? And what would be the prize in return?Rick Nash
Nash has 15 goals with 10 assists in 50 total games played. But has been on fire as of late with three, 2 goal games in his last six played. Nash seems to be skating, dangling and spinning his way into a new contract. But with who? According to Larry Brooks “if the Sabres believe pending free agent Evander Kane can bring back a package featuring a first-rounder, a prospect and a roster player, then Nash should be worth at least that, if not more.”
Rick’s Return or Nash in Nashville?
So, if we have an idea on what to expect in return for Rick Nash, where would that haul come from? Nash, who is believed to have submitted a trade approval list, would be a good fit for any contender looking to booster their depth. The Nashville Predators are a team that know the importance of offensive depth all too well. During last year’s Stanley Cup run the Preds were riddled with injuries. An aggressive two way player like Nash could help push Nashville to the next level. Would 24 year old Miikka Salomaki, a prospect and a first round draft pick get Nash to Smashville?
Or, could a return to Columbus be in the future? Nash played 9 seasons with Columbus and at the time was the face of the franchise. While Columbus came out of this season’s starting gate strong, their scoring has fizzled. A Nash return could help continue his shine and spark more scoring from a team desperate for more offense. Could Matt Calvert, a first and conditional second or prospect bring Rick Nash’s career full circle? Only time will tell but would be a story line worth writing about.
Same questions arise for the Rangers’ goal scoring leader, Michael Grabner. With his stock high, we should expect a first round pick or young roster player in return. Right? Would that make sense? Moving the speedster only makes sense for the Rangers if the return is worth the loss. Grabner’s obvious draw is his speed. The back to back Stanley Cup Champions know speed is key. The Pittsburgh Penguins style of play is a leading reason why teams around the league are trying to booster their speed by employing young, fast talent over big, tough, goons. Would Grabner fit with other former Ranger fast guy Carl Hagelin and the rest of the Penguins? Could the Rangers dangle Grabner for Czech young gun Dominik Simon? If not, then at least their first round pick and a conditional?
Another team that thrives from speed are the Vegas Golden Knights. Their style of play revolves around speed, calculated skill, forechecking and beating their opponents to the puck. All key aspects of Grabner’s game. While I have Vegas as a team who stays pat at the deadline- this could be a long shot. However, Grabner’s style of play fits so well with the West Coast dominant surprise Golden Knights. For this reason, I could see Grabner hitting the strip for a prospect and a first round pick. However, with a lack in prospect depth, Vegas could be willing to improvise and move impressive, young goalie Maxime Legacy and/or another prospect with a second round pick for Grabner.
The Blueshirt Blues
Not mentioned here for either player, but just as much a potential pursuer of either is the St. Louis Blues. Currently sitting third in the dead tight and difficult Central Division, offensive depth, speed and soft hands will be a hot commodity at the deadline. All attributes both Grabner and Nash can offer. While Blues GM Doug Armstrong told Hockey Central on January 5th he “wasn’t going to be in the rental market” (https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/blues-gm-doug-armstrong-dont-think-well-rental-market/) but if the Rangers retained half of Nash’s salary, or considering Grabner’s attractive minimal cap hit, a trade may bring WJC prospect Jordan Kyrou in return for one of the Ranger wingers
Future is Bright
A rebuild is imminent. This is an exciting time as a Ranger fan. While embracing some losses and potentially missing the playoffs for a season or two will not be fun, waiting to see what the return is for our beloved current roster will be. Time will tell where either of the Ranger wingers go, but one thing is for sure. We are going to have an exciting Trade Deadline and Draft Day in 2018.
What do you think the Rangers can reel in for Rick Nash and/or Michael Grabner? Leave your comments below, and follow me @Face_Off_Forte for more.
Let’s Go Rangers !!!!!
(Featured Image by Jared Silber via Getty Images)