Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Rick Nash is the prize jewel for NHL GMs. Here’s why Sabres should go get Nash with an offer that includes Thomas Vanek.

Since February, Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Rick Nash has been the prize jewel on the NHL shelf for window-shopping GMs.  Until this week, it was assumed that Nash would only agree to be traded to a handful of teams on his “preferred” list.  But it now looks like other teams, including the Sabres, could get into the mix with the right offer.

Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post Dispatch has compiled a list of likely destinations.  Portzline’s list in order is as follows: 1. Rangers 2. Sharks 3. Maple Leafs 4. Bruins 5. Hurricanes 6. Capitals.

Several NHL clubs have contacted Howson, however, including teams that aren’t on the list of preferred clubs by Nash and his agent, Joe Resnick. If the Blue Jackets get a deal with one of the “non-approved clubs,” the hope is that Nash will relent and agree to the trade, simply as a means to get this chapter behind him.

Assuming that Pegula & Co could convince Nash to waive his no-trade clause (which we have no reason to doubt), the Sabres should go get Nash with an offer that includes Thomas Vanek.

Why it makes sense for the Sabres

Rick Nash

Rick Nash

Quite simply, Rick Nash is bigger, stronger, faster, and better than Thomas Vanek.  He’s a world-class player with outstanding goal-scoring instincts and a huge frame. He’s a great skater for his size and can absolutely dominate a game with his ability.  Nash doesn’t just score, he’s an all-around power forward and leader whose physical play and toughness would fill a huge hole for the oft-soft Sabres.

We’ve seen Vanek dominate games on occasion but the way he plunges into depression after missing a few consecutive scoring chances is disconcerting and too often becomes a scourge on team morale.  And judging by his post-season comments, HDTV sounds like he’s ready for a change of the station.

Lastly, the Sabres may need to acquire Nash just to keep him away from Eastern Conference rivals.  Adding Nash to the Rangers, Leafs, Bruins, Hurricanes, or Capitals may just shift the balance of power in the East and make it that much harder for the Sabres to earn a playoff spot next season.

Why it makes sense for the Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets rank no higher than 4th in the Columbus sports pecking order behind Ohio State Football (twice) and Basketball.  Some degree of anonymity and a low-pressure atmosphere just might be a better fit for a player like Vanek.  It’s a situation where a guy with his sensibilities could flourish.

More importantly, the Sabres have the picks, prospects, and players to build a package around Vanek to make an offer that Columbus GM Jim Howson simply can’t refuse.

That said, perhaps the best reason for the Blue Jackets to trade with the Sabres is as simple as cold…  hard…  CASH.  Columbus will need to add salary to reach the cap floor threshold.  In Thomas Vanek and Andrej Sekera, the Sabres have a pair of players with front-loaded contracts. This means that their cap numbers are higher than the amount of cash they will actually be paid by their team.

Vanek has a cap hit of $7.143 for the next two seasons but will only earn $6.4 million in cash.  Sekera has a cap hit of $2.75 million but will actually earn only $1.75 million in the each of final two years of his deal.  These are both attractive contracts for a cash-strapped team.

What it will take

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that the Rangers were offering forward Brandon Dubinsky, top prospect forward Chris Kreider, and a first-round pick as part of a package to get Nash.

Rumors out of Carolina mentioned a similar package. “To get a player like Nash, it will take a huge hockey trade — in the Canes’ case, let’s say dealing a player such as Brandon Sutter, maybe their first-round draft pick this year and a top prospect.”

So if this is the current ante for Nash, how’s this trade sound?

Thomas Vanek, Andrej Sekera, & 2012 1st Round Pick (#21 from Nashville) for Rick Nash.



  1. Dude, I would go nuts if the Sabres could pull this off. Nash is a legit superstar badass hockey player. Seems to make sense for both sides.

    Even if we have to throw in Brennan or something toom that would be fine with me.

    Darcy… are you listening? GET NASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I live in Columbus and think it would take a bunch more. While it makes some hockey sense, I can tell you they need to bring back players the fans here may have heard of. With the CBJ acquiring jack Johnson, im sure adding a Brennan would be necessary as shoring up their D would be smart. But with them sitting at pick 2, we’d should throw both our first’s, two top prospects, vanek and and maybe even Enroth wih their problems in goal to grab Nash and Galyuchuck (sp), as there’s some fear another early Russian will not work out in this city.

  3. No. Trade Roy and Stafford. Columbus wants to clear cap room and Vanek is our most consistent goal scorer. Plus, there are talks about no cap, which means Buffalo can afford both

  4. Vanek is the most underrated Superstar in the league. With Hecht, Gaustad, Boyes and Morrisonn gone Buffalo will have a lot more cap space. They can probably get Staal as a free agent and swing a trade for Nash who Columbus wants to move. Or trade up in the draft to get some NHL ready guys.

  5. You want to trade Buffalo’s most potent offensive weapon from the past three seasons?

    Nash doesn’t want to come here. He wants to go play in The Garden with Gabo and Richards. And it will take way more than Vanek, Sekera and a 1st-rounder. I’d say Vanek, Ennis and two first-rounders. Columbus doesn’t want him to leave and whichever team gets him will pay way more than they should.

  6. I don’t know if I would do a vanek for nash swap straight up, no need to do a latetal move for the hell if it. If you’re going to do that you do it with roy.

    Add in sekera and 1st and its a horrible deal

  7. I don’t see this happening. Vanek has a better shot than Nash (.152 to .127 %). Nash is not overly physicay, though he does hit more than Vanek. I view this trade as a swap of a goal scorer for a goal scorer, and I just don’t see the point in that.

    Keeping him from divisional and conference rivals, however, is definitely a priority.

    All that being said, I’d take Nash for Vanek. It would help us keep pace in the div/conf, and we do have to shake up this core a bit more. (Derek Roy, anyone? Anyone? *crickets*)

  8. Nash doesn’t want to come to Buffalo , and it won’t matter what you give to BJ’s , it’s still up to him , and he won’t . He wants to play in N.Y.C. , or T.O. , where he can make a killing , for his wallet . The league won’t get rid of the cap , and the players won’t either . And ,you have 3 more months to and try to steal him , but , I don’t think they won’t stop playing this time . It will take a week to make a deal , and Vanek wants out of Buffalo too . But we won’t get Nash , that’s a lot of wishing .

  9. Abso-frigging-lutely they should make this happen. I’m a Vanek fan, but he’s streaky. Take last year for example. He can out of the gate on FIRE with 10 points in the first 6 games. Then he just disappeared. He showed up a month later for about 5 games, then disappeared again. If he could have kept that original pace up for the whole year he would have been neck and neck with Malkin for the Art Ross. He’s been doing it for 7 years now. Nash on the other hand comes to work every single night. The reason his offensive stats aren’t light years ahead of where they are is because he has had to do everything his entire career for lousy teams. And he was still a guaranteed 30 goal scorer.

  10. Don’t really care for the Nash for Vanek swap. If you look back at the trade rumors back in February, it was going to take a lot for any team to land him.

    If the Sabres are going to to try to land Nash, I believe Vanek is not the answer but to offer a trade sending Derek Roy and 1st Round Draft Pick (from Nashville) to Columbus which would send Nash and possibly a late round pick back to Buffalo.

    Buffalo made a splash last year in the off season, why not do it again?

  11. Do some of these people even read what they are saying. One person says no way to trading Vanek cause he is our most prolific goal scorer and then later says it would take alot more anyways. Funny how the Sabres best player along with a decent defenseman and a 1st round pick isn’t considered enough. What does that say for the Sabres. Says to me that Rick Nash is better than anything we got.

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