Penny for your thoughts, Senators fans, on this Rick Nash thing.
Are you sending general manager Bryan Murray encouraging texts about his Nash flirtations, or is the message more along the lines of . . . For God’s sake, Bryan, no Nash – keep the cash. You will need it down the road.
Assistant GM Tim Murray, speaking on the Team 1200′s Healthy Scratches show on Monday said the club has merely inquired of the Columbus Blue Jacks what they would want in a deal for Nash. There have been reports out of Columbus that Ottawa is not on Nash’s list, but Murray said the Senators haven’t heard that from Nash.
“They haven’t told us if we’re close, or asked what we’re willing to part with as far as the parameters of the trade,” Murray said. “And we aren’t close to knowing if Rick Nash wants to come to Ottawa or not, he’s the property of Columbus. That’s all I know.”
Generally speaking, Murray said, the Senators would not try to “talk somebody into coming to Ottawa,” beyond the usual pitch of this being a competitive club, a good city, with a friendly travel schedule.
“If you have to beg, it’s probably the wrong player that you’re talking to,” Murray said.
They may come from rural Shawville, but there are no flies on the Murray boys. In addition to the fluid Nash situation and Tuesday’s development camp for prospects, Tim Murray disclosed that the club is pursuing defenceman Justin Schultz. Schultz, of course, refused to sign a contract with the Anaheim Ducks team that drafted him in 2008 and became a highly-sought free agent Monday evening.
Murray says the Senators feel they “have a shot” at landing Schultz, a B.C. native, after being told by his agents that the hunt is down to three to five teams. Ottawa believes it is in that mix.
Personally, I would worry about a player that makes a big deal out of trying to join an NHL team that employs some of his former Wisconsin pals (where are Dany Heatley and Brian Elliott when you really need them?). Good thing the Senators traded for Kyle Turris last season. Turris went to Wisconsin, but only for a year before Wayne Gretzky summoned him to Phoenix to play for the Coyotes.
But c’mon, joining ex-college pals is a priority? No wonder the Ducks are beyond miffed at this kid.
Which brings us to Nash, another player making his list and checking it twice.
The Senators interest in Nash is intriguing for a bunch of reasons. For one, expensive, long-term deals for veteran NHL stars were supposed to be as obsolete around here as the Alex Kovalev fan club.
The Senators were turning the page on that way of doing business. They were going to re-build from within, through the draft, with a few judicious trades (Turris for David Rundblad, for example) thrown in.
This new model of taking a hard, honest look at veteran contracts is what caused Bryan Murray to let Filip Kuba walk, despite the fact he had a rebound season as phenom Erik Karlsson’s sidekick on the blueline.
Nash, then, with six years remaining on a contract with a $7.8-million cap hit, would seem to run contrary to this blueprint – drafting the likes of Karlsson, Jared Cowen, Mika Zibanejad,
Jakob Silfverberg etc. and patiently building around them.
Except that, Murray never promised this was going to be a lengthy turnaround. Remember what he said after dealing off Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly and Kovalev – that the Senators could do a lot in one year. He was right, and now he has a surplus of prospects.
Murray, himself, would like to be here when the Senators threaten. He turns 70 in December, his contract expires in the spring of 2014 and he isn’t sure if he will work past that point.
How close are the Senators? It’s so hard to tell in this league, when a No. 8 seed wins the Stanley Cup and one year’s challengers might as easily fall back as step forward the next year.
The Senators were close to contention in Year One of the rebuild. Would the acquisition of Nash speed up the process or derail it?
It depends how much the Senators would have to give up for the 6-4, 220-pound winger. If it doesn’t take more than two young players off the current roster, Murray would likely do the deal. Beyond that, the price becomes too steep.
Nash, of course, hasn’t yet consented to having Ottawa on its list of teams he is willing to join, and until he does, Murray can capitulate to Columbus general manager Scott Howson until he is Blue (Jackets) in the face.
That, despite have a brilliant world championship tournament with the Senators Jason Spezza as his centre.
Is it a Canadian thing?
If he does change his mind and consents to an Ottawa move, what would it take to satisfy Howson, who turned down the entire New York Islanders buffet of draft picks for the Blue Jackets second pick?
This may turn out to be the best deal Murray doesn’t make.
But if Daniel Alfredsson were to retire, the need for Nash changes dramatically.
firstname.lastname@example.org twitter.com/ @HockeyScanner