The New York Rangers failed to deliver in the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again, with the offense coming up short far too often. Following a surprising elimination at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers have been sent searching for clues. They know that they are facing salary cap woes for the foreseeable future, especially with the news that next year’s cap is unlikely to increase much at all. On the surface, the Rangers may appear very close to capturing their first Stanley Cup championship since 1994 but, in reality, it may be time for a change. The first – and biggest – could involve a trade of Rick Nash.
During the regular season, Nash played like an MVP. His offense was incredible and helped lead the Rangers to a President’s Trophy. In the postseason, Nash – like much of New York – went silent, offensively. Over his last two playoffs with the Rangers, Nash has amassed just eight goals and 24 total points. Those are not numbers befitting of a player who carries a $7.9 million cap hit over the next three seasons.
So, what are the Rangers to do? Well, right now, nothing. Nash’s contract currently includes a full N-Movement Clause. In a little over three weeks, however, that full No-Movement Clause becomes a Modified Trade Clause on July 1. That means that the Rangers would likely have 10-12 teams to which they could deal Nash.
When that becomes the case, where might the Rangers look to send Nash? I can come up with a few possibilities.
Some teams that make the most sense, specifically due to the fact that they will have a decent amount of salary cap space, include the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals. If they could move some cash off of the books, I would include the St. Louis Blues in the discussion as well. The Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators could also enter into the mix for Nash as well.
Whether the Rangers prefer to move Nash or not may not matter. The team is facing sire financial straits over the next few years of they do not make some moves. Still having to worry about restricted free agents such as Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin, the Rangers will have to come up with something creative this offseason – and the next few – if they wish to remain competitive without having their hands tied when it comes to the salary cap.