Let's face it, ever since he was drafted first overall in 2003 Rick Nash has been the face of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Often the sole bright spot of an otherwise underachieving franchise, Nash scored over 289 goals in 674 games for Columbus. Yet despite repeated attempts by management to build a team around him, Nash would reach the playoffs only once with Columbus, which eventually led to him wanting out of the team. That said, Columbus earnestly went about finding a trade partner for their unhappy superstar, though at times it seemed that the asking price by GM Scott Howson was set too high. Howson's asking price? A top six forward, a top prospect and a first round draft pick. After much shopping around Howson found a trade partner in the New York Rangers who offered center Brandon Dubinsky, prospect Tim Erixon, center Artem Anisimov, and a first round draft pick. In return, Columbus would send a conditional third round pick, and minor leaguer Steven Delisle along with Nash to New York. So how did Columbus do? See below for my take.
Big and physical, Dubinsky is looking to rebound to the form that netted him 24 goals and 30 assists two years ago for the Rangers. Though his scoring is not consistent, Dubinsky is capable of taking on a major role on defense. He can also takie on a leadership role with Columbus, but must avoid taking bad penalties that have kept him off the ice in the past. In short, Dubinsky is a good two way player who will fit into the current team management is putting together. Trade Grade: B+
Tim Erixon (D)
Erixon may present the perfect complement to newly drafted Ryan Murray, since he is a good skater who comes with some offensive upside, yet plays well defensively. The former son of an NHL player, he shows good instincts for the game, and once he matures a little more he may start logging lots of minutes with Columbus. Trade Grade: B-
Anisimov won't score a ton of goals for Columbus but he certainly has the play-making skills to center a line. However, the youmg Russian had a lot of success in last year's playoffs, scoring 10 points in 20 games, which should help his confidence coming into this year. Trade Grade: B
Columbus already owns the Kings' first pick next year, so stockpiling additional picks may be a good way to build for the future. Maybe the pick can be used to land a top 10 or top 15 ranked player who slips down a notch or two next year, someone like playmaking winger Kerby Rychel, or Russian goal scorer Valeri Nichushkin. To expect much more than that may be a stretch. Trade Grade: B
In all, Columbus was able to add pieces to the current team they are building, but the payoff of the trade may lay a few years down the road when their 2012 crop of rookies comes of age.
About this writer: The writer has been a fan of Columbus since their inaugural season in the NHL. The writer lists Nikolay Zherdev and Rick Nash among his all-time favorite Blue Jacket players.
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