Can you smell the euphoria in the air?
Rosterbators everywhere are losing their collective minds over the fact that Rick Nash (RICK NASH!) has been added to the trading block, right next to disgruntled (and far less sexy) Jeff Carter. It's making even the most sane and reasoned fans hold out just a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, when the dust settles on February 27th, Nash will be adorning your favourite team's jersey, and your team will be suddenly as overpowered as Superman.
And while Red Wings fans have become considerably less expectant for a HUGE deadline acquisition in years past thanks to Holland's inactivity over the last three trade deadlines, the prospect of a big bodied forward with A-List recognition like Rick Nash has is definitely causing swooning of epic proportions in small pockets of Hockeytown: No Limits.
But does Rick Nash make sense? Would he be a valuable addition? Let's take a closer look and see just how crazy it would be to acquire him.
Chapter 1: Rick Nash, the Overpaid
Rick Nash has been regarded as one of, if not THE premium power forward in the NHL. He's got great hands, he can plow through opposition like a wrecking ball through a wall of Lego, and has, on many occasions, angered Nationwide Arena staff because they've had to collect too many opposition jock straps from the rafters.
If the question here were: is Rick Nash a good player? Well then the answer would, undoubtedly, be yes.
But does he make sense to acquire, specifically for the Red Wings? Let's take a look.
Over Rick Nash's 9 year career, he has amassed 527 points, or roughly 59 points per season. He has had a 40 goal season exactly two times, and two seasons higher than 35. He had a career high 79 points in 2009, but has seen that total decline in each of the last three seasons (including this one) and he's currently on track for a 55 point campaign.
Has he had elite seasons? Yes. But now let's pair those numbers with his salary cap hit.
In 2009, Rick Nash signed a hefty 8 year contract extension that was backloaded rather than front-loaded (more proof that in Columbus, up is down). It pays Nash over $7 million a season, and sets his cap hit at $7.8 million a season. That cap hit alone is higher than any single cap hit currently on the Red Wings roster, and is higher than Lidstrom's was two years ago.
The headaches that $7.8 million would cause the Red Wings capologist Ryan Martin would be astounding. It immediately puts the Wings right up against the cap. It causes massive issues for calling up players to replace injured players. It doesn't allow the Red Wings to go out and find a true number 1 defenseman to replace Lidstrom when he retires. And, most importantly, it sees Rick Nash make over $1 million more than Pavel Datsyuk, and have a cap hit nearly $2 million over Henrik Zetterberg's.
Both those players have put up more points in a season than Nash, and in Datsyuk's case, it's been multiple times.
Plus, add in the asking price that Howson would be demanding (which most likely definitely starts with Tatar/Nyquist/Jarnrok/Mrazek and only goes up from there) and the Red Wings would essentially be crippling themselves in the future for one year of a decreasing-in-value Rick Nash.
Count me out on Nash, but count me in on...
Chapter 2: Zach Parise
Where Rick Nash makes no sense, Parise just makes too much sense. Only problem is the Devils have thrown a wrench into everything by, you know, being pretty decent and being in the thick of the playoff race.
Parise, who's contract expires this year, is an absolute beast of a goal scorer. He's averaged around 30 goals each year (not including last year's injury shortened season) and has put up over 80 points twice already.
While he's not a power forward like Rick Nash, he is a shoot-first, three zone player who would fit like a glove into Babcock's system.
But, he's not going to be dealt at the deadline. For reasons above, and because the Devils are hopeful they can get something done. If they can't though, expect old Kenny Holland to be aggressive in trading for Parise's rights.
Adding a young gaol scorer to this team would be downright lethal. Make it so, at least in June.
Chapter 3: The Reality
While visions of Rick Nashes dance in everyone's heads, the reality is, the Red Wings will probably acquire a gritty veteran in the Solid Snake mould to fill out the bottom lines. Emmerton fills the spot OK, but slotting in a Paul Gaustad or a Travis Moen would really upgrade this team.
And bringing in a solid veteran defenseman, on the cheap, would really give the Red Wings the depth they need should these playoffs become another war of attrition.
So for now, we watch and we wait and we read endless rumours. But one thing we've all got to remember:
With Mike Illitch as the owner, anything could happen. Just ask those Tigers fans over on BYB.