PITTSBURGH -- The Flyers are interested in Rick Nash. Of course they are.
And yes, it's certainly possible that by the time the first round of the NHL Draft ends here Friday night, the Columbus Blue Jacket could be wearing orange and black. But just as was the case in February at the trade deadline, this is absolutely insane.
That's for several reasons. First, do the Flyers really need him? Seriously? Is it worth paying the price to upgrade what's already one of the best offenses in the NHL? But okay, assume they do want/need/whatever him. This still doesn't make any sense.
Rick Nash might not be worth his contract in several years. We talked about that in comparison to James van Riemsdyk a little over a week ago, but it still stands even on its own. Nash is signed for nearly $7.8 million until 2017-18. He'll be a free agent when Claude Giroux is in his 30s.
Nash topped out at 79 points in 2008-09 and has dropped off each season since. He's one of the highest-paid players in the NHL and yet 24 players scored more goals than he did last season. 58 players had more points than he did last season. Oh, but he's on a bad team, you say? PA Parenteau of the New York Islanders scored more points than Nash. So did Teddy Purcell and Olli Jokinen and David Desharnais and you get the point.
This is with six years left, too. You think he's going to be worth $8 million a year in 2017 when he's 33 years old? It's not old, but I'd be willing to wager damn good money that his current contract will be the most lucrative of his career.
Secondly, just think about what Scott Howson wants here. He has all the power -- he doesn't have to trade Nash and has made it clear since Day 1 that he won't get rid of him unless a team gives up the house for him. As we wrote in February:
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.
If you think Howson's stance has softened at all, guess again. He basically laughed off a question from a reporter here Thursday afternoon who asked if there's been a trade proposal he's been "close" to accepting. His job is on the line here. There's no chance he gets fleeced yet again.
The only chance he's lost some of his leverage is that it's clear now that Nash is less happy in Columbus than he was a few months back, but that really doesn't seem to be changing anything. Whoever wants Nash is going to have to give up a ton to get him, and there's no scenario in which it makes sense to give up Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier or even James van Riemsdyk for Rick Nash.
It's not exactly the same as with Rick Nash. Ryan is three years younger than Nash and his $5.1 million cap hit is much friendlier than Nash's $7.8 million hit. His contract doesn't expire until 2015, either, so there's a pretty strong chance that you're going to get him at a solid price for the next few years.
He's a comparable scorer to Nash and there's a chance that Ducks general manager Bob Murray doesn't take as hard a line as Scott Howson has done in Columbus. A chance. It's likely that the Ducks ask for some of the Flyers young talent in a deal, and I'm not sure that the Paul Holmgren will be able to complete a deal without giving up Schenn or Couturier. Wouldn't you ask for one of those guys if you were Murray?
I'd love Bobby Ryan on the Flyers. If a deal popped up in which the Flyers could keep Schenn and Couturier, I'd love to see it happen. But that seems like a wish too strong for the hockey gods to grant.
Say no, Homer. Stay the course.