Spelling out the facts on Rick Nash

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Spelling out the facts on Rick Nash

With the Stanley Cup Finals little more than a week away, the busy season has arrived for the rest of the NHL beginning work on their offseason plans. Trade rumors, signing your own players and major roster decisions are all in play with the NHL Draft and NHL free agency little more than a month away.

That means the rumor mill is getting worked into a deep frenzy for 27 NHL teams watching the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings work out the whole Stanley Cup thing. There were reports out of Columbus that the Bruins are working on pulling together a deal for discontented sniper Rick Nash as he becomes the biggest trophy on the trade market this summer.

According to The Canon blog out of Columbus, the Blue Jackets TV play-by-play guy, Jeff Rimer, reported on one of the local radio stations that the Bruins were preparing a major offer for the former No. 1 overall pick.

While its true Nash is considered one of the best offensive talents in the NHL as a 6-foot-4, 216-pound left wing, the 27-year-old is also coming off one of his worst seasons with 59 points and a minus-14 for an admittedly miserable Columbus hockey team.

With that in mind lets go on a little fact-finding mission when it comes to Nash and the Bruins:

Fact: The Bruins are one of the teams that Nash would agree to waive his no-trade clause for and his camp admitted as much during the winter when his name first seriously surfaced at the trade deadline. So Boston is a place that the

Fact: The Bruins have interest in Nash as most every other team in the NHL would if they could clear out of the 7.8 million in cap space required to bring the forward onto a new team. That would mean the Bruins would need to move a player in the 5 million salary cap hit neighborhood (David Krejci, Tim Thomas) before even thinking about bringing in such a heavy hitter.

Fact: Columbus is going to be looking at premium prices in exchange for their franchise player with many teams expected to be in the sweepstakes around the time of the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. Most expected that the Blue Jackets would be looking for Tuukka Rask in any Nash exchange given Columbus dreadful performance between the pipes, but indications to CSNNE.com from several places are that the Blue Jackets are looking for either Milan Lucic or Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton as their desired price tag. Seguin is an untouchable for the Bruins coming off a sophomore NHL season where he blossomed into an All-Star performer, but Lucic appears to have his name coming up more and more often in trade discussions. Prices may drop if the Blue Jackets have a difficult time finding a home for a disgruntled player that clearly doesnt want to be in Ohio next season, but the Bruins will need to part with something good. It makes much more sense for the Bruins to sell Columbus on a package of Krejci and prospectspicks, but that doesnt appear that it will be close to enough.

Fact: the Columbus blog post mentions Patrice Bergeron as a possibility to be moved to Columbus in the right circumstances. Thats never going to happen. No player in their right minds is going to waive a no-trade clause to go from Boston to Columbus. Thats where players like Jeff Carter go as punishment for their misdeeds rather than a landing spot for the Selke Trophy favorite this season.

Fact: the fact Boston is poking around Nash clearly illustrates their understanding that finding a little more offensive punch is a need after this springs feeble output against the Washington Capitals. Nash would be an ideal No. 1 left wing finisher and fits the bill for Bostons clear need, but it set off some bells and whistles that the winger played on many dreadful Blue Jackets teams and has exactly four games of postseason experience on his resume.

Fact: The Blue Jackets are asking for too much for Nash at this point. This hockey writer can only see the superstar winger coming to Boston if Columbus is willing to take on Krejci or Tim Thomas in exchange for their franchise cornerstone. That may or may not happen

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.