Outside of Rick Nash’s delicious faux-hawk, I think this chatter of Nash coming to Boston could be a big mistake for the black and gold. There’s a multitude of factors as to why I think this is the case, but we have to start somewhere right? Let’s look at the player and his statistics over the past four years:
As you can see, Nash’s production has gone down every year since he hit the 40 goal mark in 2008-2009. One can “boldly” say to a Nash detractor “Well, Nash played in Columbus”, but does that really excuse Nash from this decline in production? If you look at the same sample size for the Blue Jackets from 08-12, here’s how the club has done in the standings:
2008-2009: 92 points, 7th in the West
2009-2010: 79 points, 14th in the West
2010-2011: 81 points, 13th in the West
2011-2012: 65 points, 15th in the West
Outside of one playoff appearance, Columbus has been consistently terrible. Does that excuse a guy from declining in production? It shouldn’t. A prime example of a good player still performing on a terrible team is Ilya Kocalchuk. Kovalchuk’s last four years in Atlanta read like this:
After the jump, More anti-Nashness...
2006-2007: 42 goals, 34 assists, 76 points, 336 SOG, 12.5%
2007-2008: 52 goals, 35 assists, 87 points, 283 SOG, 18.4%
2008-2009: 43 goals, 48 assists, 91 points, 275 SOG, 15.6%
2009-2010: 41 goals, 44 assists, 85 points, 290 SOG, 14.1% (this includes his 27 games with New Jersey)
And Atlanta’s records in those years?
2006-2007: 97 points, 3rd in the East
2007-2008: 76 points, 14th in the East
2008-2009: 76 points, 13th in the East
2009-2010: 83 points, 10th in the East
So much like Columbus, Atlanta had one playoff appearance and then toiled away to nothing. The difference? Kovalchuk was still able to produce goals, including a 50+ season where Atlanta was going nowhere. Nash? Down the toilet like the rest of his squad.
So we get the stats out of the way, right away. Maybe you’re still buying the idea that Nash would play better on the Bruins because the Bruins have more talent. I wouldn’t be too sure about that either, given that the Bruins put a strict emphasis on defense. The last time the Bruins had a 90 point player was Marc Savard in 2006. Since the 2006-2007 season, the Bruins have had a 90+ point player once (Savard 06-07), an 80-89 point player once (Savard 08-09), a 70-79 point player three times (Bergeron 06-07, Savard 07-08, Krejci 08-09), and a 60-69 point player six times (Krejci 10-11, Lucic 10-11, Seguin 11-12, Marchand 11-12, Krejci 11-12, Lucic 11-12).
So what am I getting at here?
An individual on this current Boston Bruins team does not amass a ton of points. Instead they spread the puck around, spread the TOI around and get contributions from a bunch of different players. That doesn’t make someone like Rick Nash valuable on this team, especially at his price tag.
…And that’s where we come to the dollar amount.
Nash will make $7,800,000 per year over the next five season. That would make him the highest paid Bruins (without being the highest producing forward if you look at 2011-2012 totals) player. There’s a catch to this whole thing though:
You need to trade for him.
Columbus has been crazy in what they want back from him as well. Rumor has it that before the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets wanted a combination of Krejci, Rask, Dougie Hamilton and a 1st round pick. Well guess what Bruins fans? They still want some sort of that combination, but now add Milan Lucic to the mix.
So lets play that game folks.
The Bruins currently have $3,472,024 in cap space (now includes the Paille and Bourque contracts) per capgeek and yes, that includes Savard’s 4 million bucks being paid to him and not LTIR. To fit Nash under the cap, you’ll have to move a $5M player so that’s trading Tim Thomas somewhere (because Columbus won’t want him) or sending David Krejci in the deal (there’s no way you trade Patrice Bergeron).
Sidenote: Even if Thomas sits out, his salary still counts against the Bruins’ cap, per Bob McKenzie.
@TheBruinsBlog Suspended, retired, abducted by aliens, doesn’t matter. Counts against the cap no matter what.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 1, 2012
So don’t think this news of him sitting out is going to raise the amount of cap space the Bruins can use.
So to even think about getting Nash, one of those $5M players need to go somewhere. David Krejci, though, isn’t going to cut it in this trade. If Columbus ever takes David Krejci, straight up, for Rick Nash then Scott Howson should be fired then hit with the good ole tar and feathers. I would say their original intentions of landing Krejci and Hamilton and/or Rask plus a 1st rounder still stands and will stand when it comes to Boston.
Is Rick Nash worth it? A yearly decline in production, a shake up of the core and a huge increase in salary.
I say no thanks.