2012 NHL Trade Deadline: Rick Nash To The Buffalo Sabres Makes Sense For Neither
As the trade deadline gets closer and closer, trade rumors get even crazier. With the recent news that Columbus forward Rick Nash is on the market, every Tom, Dick and Harry is coming up with a way to get the prized forward to their team. That includes Sabres fans trying to get in on the action.
Rick Nash has been apart of the Columbus Blue Jackets for his entire career. In 648 career games, Nash has 277 goals and 527 points. He has two 40 goal seasons and never scored more than 79 points in a season. He has a cap hit of $7.9 million that would last for the next six seasons and a no movement clause for the first three of those years and a no trade clause for the other three years.
It is pretty much a certainty that Nash will not be a Blue Jacket by the end of the season. As much as Sabres fans would be salivating over the fact that he might come to Buffalo, does it make sense for either side for a trade to work? We take a look at why neither side should be interested in making a deal work.
Why Rick Nash Wouldn't Work For Buffalo
The Buffalo Sabres have had one glaring need since the start of the season and that comes at center. The current roster has Derek Roy as the first center, Tyler Ennis as the second center, and Paul Gaustad as our third center. Unless Rick Nash is suddenly going to convert into a center, how exactly would he help this situation?
Nash is a high quality scorer that would bring more finish to the Sabres roster, but he also needs to be fed the puck more often than not. The one thing that Columbus has always been looking for is a quality center that would play with him to be able to feed him the puck. In the Sabres roster, they already have a player that fits Nash's qualities in Thomas Vanek. While it would be nice to say that the Sabres have two lines with dynamic scoring wingers, there aren't enough quality centers on this roster to be able to maximize their talents.
The salary cap hit is another major issue that the Sabres would have to get around as well. Currently, the Sabres have $3.5 million in cap space with Jochen Hecht on Long Term Injured Reserve. If Hecht were to return at some point in the season, that cap space becomes non-existent. That means for a deal to work, the Sabres will have to send almost equal value in cap space to Columbus as well. Some proposals that have been floated have included sending Derek Roy and Drew Stafford which doesn't make much sense because it further exasperates the center issue on this team. Another deal people want to see is Ryan Miller for Nash, which would be a fantastic deal if you thought that Jhonas Enroth was the solution for future, but one that I wouldn't see either team make.
Why Rick Nash Wouldn't Want To Come To Buffalo
Rick Nash has a no-movement clause in his contract in which he has to present a list of teams that he would accept a trade to. Does anyone really believe that Buffalo is going to be on that short list? Yes, I am aware that this is "Hockey Heaven" and that the new upgrades to the locker room and the overall player experience in Buffalo has improved since Terry Pegula took over, but one year does not change that much in perception among players in the league. Buffalo still has a negative reputation that is going to take a few years to break before high quality talent is going to be breaking down the door.
Nash is going to want to go to a contender now and the Sabres aren't that team. Sitting 14 points ahead of the current team that he plays for is not an enticing thought. Thoughts of playing for the Maple Leafs, the Rangers, the Flyers, or the Red Wings are more appealing to a player that holds all of the cards in this deal.
While visions of goal scorers dance through Sabres fans heads in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, sometimes those visions are just wild pipe dreams. In the case of Rick Nash, that much is true as well.