Mike from Attleboro -- the leading contributor to Michael Felger's old mailbag and one of Felger's favorite callers to his radio show -- is now contributing occasional pieces to CSNNE.com. Today he gives his take on the Rick Nash-to-Boston rumors.
If youre a diehard Bruins fan, the weeks since their untimely playoff demise have not been easy ones. We've had to witness an eminently winnable Eastern Conference get narrowed down to two less-than-imposing contenders: The New York Rangers, who are just about ready for the glue factory after coach John Tortorella has been riding them like its the last furlong, and the New Jersey Devils, who are a game away from the finals despite Martin Brodeur allowing more charity goals than a United Way fundraiser.
To make matters worse, the LA Kings stampeded through the Western Conference in the exact same fashion our Bruins did last year: With grinding, villainous 5-on-5 play, stellar goaltending from Mike Quick (a.k.a. Vezina Smythe), and little to no contributions from the PP unit . . . and never once have they had to hear the phrase turnover by Kaberle.
In short, a very familiar case of the what might have beens has set in.
So what better way to recover than with the chicken soup of vanquished teams: The absurd offseason trade rumor.
When rumors of a big trade start to crop up, two things come to mind immediately. The first reaction is that it will never happen because we are hearing rumors about it. The second is what the motivation is for the rumors to be out there in the first place.
The origins of the Rick Nash-to-the-Bruins rumors seem to stem from nothing more than Nash listing the Bruins as a team he would approve a trade to and Columbus play-by-play man Jeff Rimmer reporting the Bs were preparing a major offer. Could the Bruins be making an offer? Sure, and I hope Peter Chiarelli does his job and investigates all possibilities thoroughly. But to me this feels like an early attempt by the Blue Jackets to stir up the market for Nash. And honestly, its a market I want zero part of.
Lets get down to the bare facts. Rick Nash will be 28, has a 7.8 million cap hit for the next four years and had his goals and points in decline for the past four seasons. He hasnt been a 40-goal scorer since 2009 and just managed 30 last season. This is not a player I mortgage a franchise for.
According to CSNNEs Joe Haggerty, the Blue Jackets are looking for. a package of Seguin or Lucic and Doug Hamilton. Peter Chiarelli is a lot of things but the State of Rhode Island he isnt. Sorry, Columbus.
Here are some more facts: Last season, Milan Lucic had four fewer goals and two more total points than Nash. Lucic will be 24 next season, can play in Claudes system, is far more difficult to play against than Rick Nash, is a better passer than Nash, and costs half as much against the cap. I wouldnt trade Lucic for Rick Nash straight up. And no, I havent been drinking.
Look at what happened to Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovy lit up the stat sheet on a bad Atlanta team. Pop him into New Jersey and force him to say defense in Russian and hes a minus-26, his scoring drops off and the Devils flounder. I will be more than content to watch desperate GMs like Torontos Brian Burke drive up the bidding on a player with four career playoff games while the Bruins explore other options.
What options you might ask? Here are two that would turn Bruins fans Fifty Shades of Black and Gold: Shane Doan and Jerome Iginla.
Doan will be 36 and is a pending free agent, so all he would cost is money. Iginla will be 35, is a pending free agent and would require far less in a deal than Nash. Both players ooze playoff caliber gameplay. They are tough, gritty, pains in the butt who not only go to dirty areas to score, they make even more of a mess while there. They both are right wings and would fit in perfectly on the first line opposite Lucic. They would also allow Nathan Horton to take his time coming back. Doan is good for at least 20 goals and 50 points and Iginla is a 50-goal scorer who hasnt scored less than 30 in 11 years. Most importantly, both Doan and Iginla are real captains. They are the consummate teammates and leaders. Doan and Iginla have been on bad teams and carried them like luggage into the postseason. Captain Nash packs his luggage and asks for a deal.
As thankful as I am for the opportunity to talk about the Bruins during the offseason, I will celebrate wildly if the Bruins dont get suckered into overpaying for Nash. Were talking confetti and fireworks people and something tells me that after tonight, Ill be able to get a good deal on party supplies from the Rangers.