What to Expect from Rick Nash
Rick Nash is a New York Ranger that fans either support or criticize. Rarely will Nash receive the benefit of the doubt and rarely will he be praised for his value. Nevertheless, Rick Nash is a former superstar with a $7.8 million cap hit this season. A player getting paid that high is expected to produce more than 23 goals and 15 assists, and there really is no debating that.
Numbers and stat lines tell quite a bit about a player, but not the whole story. Stats are like SparkNotes; if you only read that and not the book, you’ll miss plenty of information. Rick Nash is, especially with Derek Stepan gone, the best overall TWO WAY forward the New York Rangers have.
What Rick Nash brings on the penalty kill and on the back check is so vital, that if he was getting paid $4.5-5 million, nobody would say a word. Is it fair? Well, it’s sports; and a player is valued at his pay and his value typically is statistic based.
Nash is still a top six forward and a leader for the team. Most importantly, Nash has grown as a hockey player during his time in New York. Playing on the penalty kill or battling for position in front of the net, is something that few players with a $7.8 million cap hit would be willing to do.
Before fans attack Nash’s stat line at the end of every season or blame every playoff failure on him; fans need to realize Nash is no longer a 40 goal scorer, he is a responsible two-way player that the Rangers would be worse without.
Honestly, somewhere down the road, there will be an injury. Nash has missed 15+ games in back to back seasons and he isn’t getting any younger. Let’s err on the side of caution and say that Nash will play roughly 65-70 games, that would mean a similar stat line in the 2017-18 season (around 20-25 G, 15-20 A, 40-45 P). Should he stay healthy, we could see an additional 10-15 points from the power forward. Either way, the statistical expectations are drastically lower than what he had when he was a top 10 forward in the league.
Nevertheless, Rick Nash is one of the players on the team that the stat line will tell one story, and the performance and value on the ice will tell another. There’s a reason Nash has the ‘A’ on his chest. He brings invaluable, non-measurable aspects to the ice every game.