Rangers acquired Rick Nash in 2012 and his Trade Tree is still blooming
It’s been more than a decade since the 2012 splash that brought Rick Nash to the New York Rangers in the summer of 2012. At the time, it felt like the missing piece to a championship contender following a trip to the Eastern Conference Final the prior season.
Today we’ll back at that trade and what subsequent deals resulted from it, including some that are still unfolding today.
Rick Nash Trade Tree
The trade: The Rangers acquire Rick Nash, Steven Delisle and a 2013 third-round pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a 2013 first-round pick on July 20, 2012.
Rick Nash Branch
Nash would spend parts of six seasons in New York, including a 42-goal campaign in 2014-15. He finished his Rangers career with 145 goals and 252 points in 375 games before getting shipped to Boston in February 2018 for Matt Belesky, Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren a 2018 first and a 2019 seventh.
Belesky appeared in five games as a Ranger and posted one goal. He was never traded and retired after the 2018-19 season.
Spooner had 16 points in 20 games immediately following the trade but was sent to Edmonton early the following season for Ryan Strome. Strome had his most productive years of his career with the Rangers, scoring 195 points in 263 games before leaving in 2022 as a free agent.
Lindgren has been a mainstay on the Rangers blueline.
The first-round pick was packaged with a second-round pick that year to move up in the draft to select defenseman K’Andre Miller 22nd overall.
The seventh-round pick was sent to Carolina for a 2018 seventh, which New York used to draft Riley Hughes, who never played a game for the Blueshirts.
Steven Delisle Branch
Delisle never played a game for the Rangers — or any NHL team — but was somehow included in another Rangers blockbuster just months after being included in the Nash trade.
Delisle, along with Marian Gaborik and Blake Parlett, was sent back to Columbus on April 3, 2013, for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round pick in 2014.
Brassard would become one of the most popular Rangers during the mid-2010s, helping the team reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and winning a Presidents Trophy the following year. “Big Game Brass” posted 174 points in 254 games, but on July 18, 2016, he, along with a 2018 seventh-round pick, would be part of another massive trade in Rangers history when he was sent to Ottawa for Mika Zibanjead and a 2018 second-round pick.
Zibanejad took off in New York, where he remains today.
The second-rounder, along with a third-round pick in 2017, was sent to Detroit in February 2017 for defenseman Brendan Smith.
Dorsett, a rugged fourth-liner, was traded at the 2014 draft to Vancouver for a third-round pick (Keegan Iverson).
Moore, a former first-round pick who was just 22, never found his footing in New York and was packaged along with Anthony Duclair, a 2015 2nd and 2016 first, and sent to Phoenix for Keith Yanle, defenseman Chris Summer and a 2016 fourth-round pick (Tarmo Reunanen).
Yandle spent parts of two seasons in New York. He was a pending UFA and the Rangers shipped him to Florida for a 2016 sixth (Tyler Wall) and a 2017 fourth.
The fourth-round pick was sent to San Jose for a 2017 fourth (Brandon Crawley) and 2017 sixth, which the Rangers used to draft Morgan Barron. He’d play 18 games for the Rangers before getting traded, along with a 2022 first and second, and a 2023 fith, to Winnipeg foe Andrew Copp and a 2023 sixth (Dylan Roobroeck).
Summers played in six games for the Rangers over two seasons.
The Rangers flipped Reunanen to Carolina in 2022 for Maxim Letunov.
Pavel Buchnevich Branch
The 2013 third-round pick Columbus included with Nash turned into Buchnevich, who spent five seasons with the Rangers, amassing 79 goals and 195 points in 301 games. New York shipped him to the St. Louis Blues in July 2021 for forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick.
Blais’ time in New York was an unmitigated disaster, and he was sent back to the Blues, along with defenseman Hunter Skinner, a 2023 first-rounder and a 2024 fourth for Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola. Both of those players left in free agency.
The 2022 second the Rangers got from St. Louis was packed with Barron in the Copp deal.
Trade trees can be hit or miss, both in on ice and entertainment value. Nash’s time in New York is polarizing, as he wasn’t the missing piece many felt he’d be, but he also wasn’t a flop as others feel he was.
Few players impact an organization both upon their arrival and their departure as Nash did, as his time in New York quite literally resulted in ⅔ of the Rangers’ left blueline.
You’d also be hard pressed to find a more anonymous player than Delisle being involved in two seismic trades in a franchise’ history, let alone them both coming in less than a calendar year.
The biggest whiff here — outside of Ottawa giving up Zibanjead for Brassard — was Buchnevich, who has blossomed into a borderline superstar in St. Louis. That, to this writer, has become one of the worst Rangers trades of the 21st century, if not all time.