Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick Nash in a Maple Leafs uniform remains a possibility

It is not surprising that Rick Nash was not traded yesterday. The asking price was high and the number of teams being considered was small. It was too much of a buyer's market on a day where normally sellers call the shots. Teams were not prepared to hand over so many assets in the middle of the season without a mechanism for replacing the lost talent. This is the kind of deal that is made in the summer which allows a GM to replace players moved in the trades through other moves and free agency and address any cap issues since Nash is one of the highest paid players in the league.

This opens the door for Brian Burke to make a better offer and grab this guy. We know this is Burke's kind of player - big, physical and great hands. Nash is a former 40-goal scorer and only 27. The only concern is the big salary and the asking price. There is no doubt the cost would include Jake Gardner which sets off cries of pain through Leafs Nation. I'm inclined to do it.

There are few impact players that become available and when they do you go for them. This isn't so much about Gardner but about Nash. Sure Gardner has some special skills but no one will know if he will ever become a complete player like Nash.

Back in 2006 the Edmonton Oilers offered Toronto Chris Pronger for Tomas Kaberle and Alex Steen. I liked that deal but John Ferguson and most of Leafs Nation did not. I was not a Steen fan and although I loved Kaberle he was not an impact player. Pronger was just 6 years post a Hart Trophy and the only defenseman to have won the Hart since Bobby Orr won it in 1972. Instead he went to Anaheim where he won a Stanley Cup the following season.

The situation is totally analogous. Pronger wanted to play in a big market and for a contender. The Leafs were on his list of teams that he would agree to play for. That's where Nash is right now. He will make a difference.

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