"Traded? You mean it? For serious?"

Okay, wow. Deep breaths, all.

First off, I just want to say how glad I am that this is finally over. Not that it wasn’t fun for a while but at least now we can all move on with our lives (somewhere Alexander Semin is nodding gleefully).

Second of all, any way you look at this, the New York Rangers are now terrifying. They are the Walter White of the NHL. Glen Sather is the one who knocks. I don’t know what that makes Scott Howson. Maybe Gale. Point is, the Rangers now have a very, very good hockey team (and they weren’t half bad before). The Rangers can now field a line of Nash-Stepan-Gaborik. Or, if they really want to rub it in, Nash-Richards-Gaborik. Look unto thee and be terrified. This team is going to score a lot of goals, and a lot of them are going to be very, very nice.

This was already a team with, arguably, the best goalie in the NHL, though, I’m sure Jonathan Quick fans would be quick (heh) to dispute that (and they wouldn’t be out of line), a solid defensive corps that is only going to get stronger the older and better Marc Staal gets (his ceiling seriously frightens me) and an offense that scored the 10th most goals in the NHL last season. I don’t think I have to tell you all what adding a player like Rick Nash, whatever your opinion on his “superstar”-level or if he’s still in his prime may be, can and will do for this team. Nash is a guy who has played with nothing for his entire career and it has yet to be seen what he can do with talent surrounding him (I’m not counting Jeff Carter because come on). In the 2010 Olympics, Nash looked right at home surrounded by top-flight talent and it wouldn’t shock me in the least to see that continue with the Rangers.

When looking at the parts going the other way?  Well, it’s actually not that bad. The players going to Columbus are not terrible by any means – Brandon Dubinsky is a solid, if unspectacular, pro who is exactly the kind of tough, grinding centerman that many teams covet (looking at you, Brian Burke). He’s not going to replace Nash’s point output but he will be able to make up for it in knocking opposing players around a little bit. Artem Anisimov is young and can score. He has the potential to score a lot, I think, and he’s also a big boy who can play physical as well. In fact, if you were to combine the play styles of Dubinsky and Anismiov, you’d have a rough approximation of Rick Nash less 20-25 points or so. Tim Erixon is also young. Like, really young. He’s a 90s kid for Christ’s sake. Heading into his draft year, he was ranked 5th amongst European skaters by Central Scouting. I’m not saying that pre-draft rankings mean a whole lot or pan out but you don’t get ranked in the top 5 of anything without at least having some sort of knowledge of what it is you’re doing. He’s obviously not going to pay immediate dividends but a solid, young, puck moving defenseman is nothing to ignore. When you factor in a first round draft pick as well, even though it will likely be a high-20s pick due to what is sure to be a successful season for the Rangers, this deal is nothing to sneeze at. At all.

Now, the elephant in the room has to be Scott Howson. I’ve said my piece on the kind of job I think he’s doing as general manager of the Blue Jackets but, I have to say, this wasn’t a terrible trade that he pulled off. Yes, he totally handicapped himself by totally bungling every possible deal for Nash that came before this. Yes, he overreached on offers for Nash and asked for way, way too much which turned him into a laughing stock. Yes, the way he handled himself and his franchise, from the first Rick Nash rumor to an hour ago has been laughable at best and incompetent at worst. THAT BEING SAID, when looking at the market for Nash through a real world lens (not a Scott Howson lens), he was never going to get much more for Nash than he did today. First of all, Nash is 28. Not old by any standards, but no longer the up-and-coming player that he once was. I’ve heard it said that Nash is past his prime, which I don’t agree with, but he is definitely in the latter half of it. Also, and this cannot be overstated enough, Rick Nash’s contract is atrocious. It’s the kind of contract that would make John Ferguson Jr. go “really?” and the fact that it was moveable at all is kind of a miracle. Through the 2017-2018 season, Nash is owed $7.6M, $7.8M, $7.8M, $7.9M, $8M, and $8.2M. It is the opposite of a front-loaded contract. If popular opinion states that Rick Nash’s play is already on the decline, what’s it going to be like in 6 years? And he’ll still be making $8.2 million.

So, yes, it’s lots of fun to pile on Scott  Howson for being incompetent, because he is, but he really didn’t do too badly for himself this afternoon. He may not have gotten his all-star, impact player but he probably wasn’t going to in the first place. Yeah, he probably could have gotten more at the deadline or if he had just kept his damn mouth shut but this trade really could have been so, so much worse for him. As for next season? We get to watch the Rangers play some, barring injuries & unforeseen terribleness, pretty entertaining hockey and we all get to have the fun of starting pools to see how many points Marion Gaborik can put up with Rick Nash on his line (assuming he ends up on the same line. For our highlight guys, I hope he does).

From a poorly formed metaphor standpoint, I’m personally looking forward to seeing which team will step up to be the Gustavo Fring to the Rangers’ Walter. Cause that’s when things will really get interesting.

***

UPDATE THE FIFTH:

Your full deal, ladies and gentlemen.

UPDATE THE FOURTH:

More things!

UPDATE THE THIRD:

So, that’s that. All of my thoughts are forthcoming.

UPDATE THE SECOND:

I’m refraining from laughing until I see that 4th piece. But I’m getting close.

UPDATE THE FIRST:

All the things are happening.

 ***

Ho, doctor. This is happening, apparently. Finally.

 

True to his word, some details shortly followed.

I can’t wait to see what creative ways Scott Howson has found for us to make fun of him this time.