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What if Rick Nash isn’t traded before Columbus Blue Jackets’ training camp?

Greg Wyshynski
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The Rick Nash Derby has been on since well before the 2011-12 NHL trade deadline, and continues to drag its keister deep into the summer. "The Dark Knight Rises" will could be in theaters before Rick Nash gets traded. That's nutty.

Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson hasn't budged on his high asking price for the franchise player, which includes multiple NHL forwards to replace Nash's offense. Complicating matters further: The limited number of trading partners due to Nash's no-movement clause; and the lingering availability of players like Shane Doan, Alex Semin and potentially Bobby Ryan that have Nash suitors preoccupied.

We're just over two months away from the scheduled start of NHL training camps.

So what if Rick Nash hasn't been traded by then?

[Related: What exactly does Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson want?]

Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch felt the trade situation was so muddled that there's a chance Nash might still be on the roster in late September. On Sunday, he wrote:

Nash could attend training camp, which would be an awkward scene, attracting widespread media attention. Or he could stage the first Blue Jackets' training camp holdout since Nikolay Zherdev missed three weeks while threatening to play in Russia before the 2006-07 season.

… Nash not showing up for camp would be a bold move, and an expensive one. Per the agreement, he would be fined $27,636.36 for each day of camp he misses, or 1/275th of his $7.6 million salary for the 2012-13 season.

… More than two months before camp, there is no indication what Nash plans to do. Resnick and the players' association are said to be considering the options. Sources tell The Dispatch there is no chance Nash will rescind his trade request. But many believe his even-keel, nonabrasive personality might allow his attendance at camp to be merely awkward, not contentious.

Could you imagine a captain, having asked out of Columbus, even stepping foot near Blue Jackets' training camp?

Mike MacLean of The Cannon explains why Nash won't be a part of the Jackets:

I highly doubt that Nash is a Blue Jacket when the season starts. The potential for locker room dysfunction is obvious, regardless of what kind of support he gets from his teammates in the media. There have been far too many wounds sustained on either side for the relationship to be mended. If it means that Howson is the one to finally cave, I think he'll do it.

This scenario is complicated further by the NHL and the NHLPA going to battle over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, whose opening salvo has the majority of the hockey world on pins and needles about a lockout. From Puck-Rakers:

Maybe Nash's contract -- $7.6 million in salary this season, and a $7.8 million cap hit for six more seasons -- is so big a ticket that NHL clubs will wait until the next collective bargaining agreement is struck before deciding to take the plunge.

Sort of makes you wish Howson traded him at the deadline. Or the draft. Or …

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