The Flyers and the Columbus Blue Jackets have quite the trade history. Since Paul Holmgren took over as Flyers general manager a little over five years ago, the two teams have dealt four times:
- June 20, 2008: The Flyers send R.J. Umberger and a 4th round pick (Drew Olsen) to CBJ for a 1st round pick (Luca Sbisa) and a 3rd round pick (Marc-Andre Bourdon).
- October 20, 2009: A minor league deal in which the Flyers acquired Stefan Legein for Michael Ratchuk.
- February 11, 2011 (deadline day): The Flyers acquired Tom Sestito in exchange for "prospects" Michael Chaput and Greg Moore.
- June 23, 2011: And of course, we all remember this one: Jeff Carter heads to Columbus in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a 1st round pick (Sean Couturier) and a 3rd round pick (Nick Cousins).
Then, this past weekend after the game against the New York Rangers, Holmgren and CBJ general manager Scott Howson had what NHL.com described as a lengthy face-to-face meeting at the Wells Fargo Center. Could they have been talking about Rick Nash?
Well, the meeting probably started with Howson asking if there's a return policy on trades, because it's pretty evident how that summer Carter swap is going for the Blue Jackets. Carter's miserable and on the block yet again, and everybody in the world knows Howson won't get as much for Carter as he gave up to get him.
It's different with Nash, though. For starters, he owns a no-trade clause, so he has to accept any trade that comes his way. That's probably not much of an obstacle when it comes to a club like the Flyers, considering they're ... you know, a well-run organization and a good team.
Unlike with Carter, however, Howson doesn't feel any pressure to trade Nash. The guy likes Columbus, he's played his entire career there and he's not disgruntled. The only reason Howson would trade Nash is to get a bunch of good, young pieces in return that can help the club down the road. In short, if you want Rick Nash, the Blue Jackets are going to want just about everything you have in return.
Here's ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun today:
Which brings me to the Flyers, whom I believe also have interest in Nash and certainly have the young pieces to get involved (Braydon [sic] Schenn, James van Riemsdyk or Sean Couturier, etc). Can you imagine Rick Nash on a line with Claude Giroux?
This is what we worry about. Yes, Nash on a line with Claude Giroux would be UNBELIEVABLE. In the real world, though, the Flyers are already the highest scoring team in the league. Giroux is already one of the league's leading scorers, and he's only going to get better. Quite simply, the Flyers don't need Rick Nash.
Would it be nice to have him? Yeah, it'd be unreal to have him in orange and black. But as we talked about over the summer when the Flyers were going after a certain Russian goaltender, you have to weigh what the Flyers are giving up versus what they're getting in return. Not only does he have a $7.8 million cap hit, Howson is probably going to want some mix of Couturier, Schenn or van Riemsdyk and a (early-round) pick in return.
There will be no fleecing Scott Howson on this deal. It just won't happen. He's either going to get blown away by a Rick Nash trade offer or he's not going to deal him at all. And to blow him away with an offer, Paul Holmgren is going to have to give up vital pieces of the Flyers' future, and then somehow find the cap space to make it all work.
It would be stupid. Let's not be stupid. Please.