Nash is an exceptional talent, no doubt, but whichever team finally pulls the trigger on a deal for the five-time All-Star may end up doing so more out of desperation than necessity. Because of that, the Blue Jackets will likely come away as the winners of any trade involving the veteran.
Nash just turned 28, so it's safe to assume he'll continue to play at a high level for at least a few more years. The only problem is that a "high level" wouldn't even come close to justifying the cost of bringing in the former first overall pick. And by cost, that means both in the financial sense and when it comes to the package required to pluck away Nash.
The forward carries a $7.8 million cap hit for the next six seasons, meaning most teams would have to do some finagling just to make things work financially. Then, when you factor in the king's ransom that Columbus is seeking in the way of returning value, it becomes hard to imagine Nash ever producing at a level on par with the cost.
None of this breaking news. The Blue Jackets have reportedly been shopping around their star for quite a while, and their asking price has yet to come down despite teams' apparent uneasiness about dealing for the Ontario native. Essentially what we're left with then is a staring contest between Columbus and the rest of the NHL. If anyone besides Columbus blinks first, it'll be a monstrous victory for the Blue Jackets.
As is the case with any transaction, there's a lot of risk/reward analysis going on when deciding how much to offer for Nash. But the fact remains that if the Blue Jackets receive anything close to what they're bargaining for, the risk is astronomical.
For all you Bruins fans, consider this. According to an ESPN.com report, the B's were said to have inquired about Nash — although the talks were apparently just exploratory — and the feeling around the NHL is that Boston would have to part ways with either Tyler Seguin or Dougie Hamilton as part of any deal for Nash.
Seguin, of course, is just 20 years old, and already took a giant step forward in racking up 67 points this past season. Nash, by comparison, has only reached the 67-point plateau in three of his nine seasons. Seguin looks like he could be the better player going into next season, nevermind a few years down the road.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is coming off a season in which he was named the OHL's Defenseman of the Year, and he figures to be a staple on the Bruins blue line for the foreseeable future. Any deal involving him would have to include a massive return, and Nash doesn't quite fit that mold.
With Columbus perhaps seeking similar value from other teams, it's hard to imagine Nash being moved, especially on draft weekend. But with so many rumors and rumblings over the past year, it's just as hard to imagine him returning to Columbus for another season, meaning we're left with that aforementioned staring contest — a contest in which someone is bound to bat an eyelash. If it's the Blue Jackets that blink, there is still a chance they walk away from any deal victorious, if for no other reason than the cap relief. If another team blinks, it's blatant nonsense.
Nash is a good player. Heck, he's a great player. However, it's hard to categorize him as a franchise-altering player, which is exactly what Columbus is shopping him as. A quick look in the mirror might change the Blue Jackets' mindset, as they've reached the postseason just once in their existence. Until then, though, we're left to speculate and debate about Nash's future.
Trading for Nash involves a huge roll of the dice, and in this particular game the odds are in the house's favor. The house, of course, is located in Columbus.
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