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What Rick Nash wants vs. what the Columbus Blue Jackets need

Greg Wyshynski
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"Breaks his silence" is an interesting way to describe Rick Nash's agent Joe Resnick interjecting himself into the trade deadline fray, as if the world waited on edge for the ultimate partisan to offer his two bits on a process agreed upon between player and team.

But Resnick could be silent no more! He spoke with TSN and Sportsnet before Saturday night's weekly hockey media saturation point, putting public pressure on Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson to deal Nash before the trade deadline:

"We're hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets," Joe Resnick told TSN. "However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date."

In other words, if Howson and the Jackets expect to have a larger marketplace for Nash in the summer, they shouldn't expect Nash to expand his desired destinations under the terms of his no-movement clause.

This puts the captain's franchise in a bit of a pickle.

The way the winds are blowing on the eve of the deadline, it looks like it's the New York Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs or bust.

The San Jose Sharks are in the mix due to relationships between Nash, his agent and Joe Thornton — along with the Sharks being a damn good hockey team that could put a ring on Nash — but they might be the most hesitant of the group to ante up. Logan Couture, for example, is coveted by Howson but to this point is untouchable.

The Rangers are considered the front-runner, and Larry Brooks has the latest in the NY Post:

One informed source told The Post that Sather has held firm in his refusal to send 2009 first-rounder Chris Kreider, the Boston College winger, who is regarded as a can't-miss prospect, to the Blue Jackets for Nash. Neither will the general manager agree to move young blue-line chips Ryan McDonagh or Michael Del Zotto.

A second source told The Post that Sather has agreed to include 21-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon in the package that would go to Columbus in exchange for Nash, who has indicated a willingness to waive his no-move clause for a deal to a select number of big-market teams. It is unclear whether Sather is willing include 2012 first-rounder J.T. Miller in the package for Nash that would include Brandon Dubinsky, a future first-rounder, and likely at least another well-regarded prospect.

According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Columbus "hasn't talked to Leafs in days. Toronto will keep trying, but like the New York Rangers and Michael Del Zotto, Jake Gardiner remains untouchable."

But here's the thing: The Blue Jackets' primary need, despite Howson's love for Steve Mason, is between the pipes. He didn't get a goalie for Jeff Carter. None of the teams in the Nash Derby now have the kind of goaltending to ante up that teams jumping into the Derby during the summer might have. From Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets' best bet to fix their most glaring need might not arrive until the summer. By the time the NHL draft arrives in late June, teams such as Vancouver and Nashville might be more amenable to talking trade. Can Cory Schneider play in the shadow of Roberto Luongo much longer in Vancouver? Same for Anders Lindback behind Pekka Rinne in Nashville and Jonathan Bernier in Los Angeles behind Jonathan Quick.

Beyond goaltending, the summer could yield a better bounty. Playoff teams are optimistic now; by June, they'll be more desperate if they fail to meet expectations. That, plus a larger number of teams in the pool, could mean a better return for Nash.

So it makes sense to wait. A lot of sense. The Blue Jackets know this and Resnick senses it, which is why he went public on Saturday.

Howson and the Jackets brain trust have to get this right. Even if that means delaying the inevitable.

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