Bovada Weekly NHL Props Predictions and Picks: Rick Nash Trade
by Alan Matthews - 2/15/2012
Certainly no book appears to put out as many unique weekly NHL team and player props as Bovada does, and with the NHL trade deadline coming next week Rick Nash is dominating the headlines.
Nash, a powerful right winger, is the best player in Columbus Blue Jackets history (that’s not saying much). Try as they might, the Jackets have tried to find scoring help for Nash over the years and pretty much failed every time. And it’s also clear the Jackets are miles from contending for anything as they enter play Wednesday with 40 points, by far the fewest in the NHL. It’s time to rebuild -- again.
Nash, who has 18 goals and 21 assists, would bring a haul of prospects and the Jackets need help everywhere. His best season came in 2008-09 when Nash had a career-high 40 goals and 39 assists. His numbers actually have gone down slightly the past two seasons and could take a very slight dip again this year. But, then again, teams know they can focus on trapping Nash because the Jackets have no other major scoring threat.
The Blue Jackets contacted Nash and his agent this past weekend asking if Nash would be willing to waive his no-movement clause to facilitate a trade. Nash, the face of the franchise since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, agreed and gave Columbus a reported list of 10 teams to which he would agree to be dealt.
Now, any team would love to have Nash. However, it’s going to have to be one with major salary cap room. Nash is signed through the 2017-18 season at a $7.8 million salary cap hit. The biggest suitors are reported to be the New York Rangers, Los Angeles, San Jose, Toronto and Montreal. All have the cash to pay Nash and the first three all entered this season as a Cup contender (Kings have been disappointing so far).
So where will Nash go by the Feb. 27 deadline? Here are Bovada’s odds to where he will be playing after the deadline and predictions on each:
NY Rangers (5/2): The Blueshirts are never shy about making a big move and spending big money, but do they really need to gut their roster with a huge lead in the Eastern Conference? Reportedly the teams have already talked and New York has nearly $7 million in cap room. Columbus wants more than the package of Brandon Dubinsky and top prospect Chris Kreider that New York is offering.
Boston Bruins (5/1): Boston won the Cup a season ago because of depth, not one superstar (other than goalie Tim Thomas). The Bruins wouldn’t seem to need Nash as they have the NHL’s top-scoring offense, but that offense has been struggling of late. The key here could be the health of Nathan Horton, who is still out with a concussion. He has missed the past nine games and isn’t really close to returning. Boston will need to replace Horton’s scoring if this is a long-term thing, as many concussions have turned out to be. For sure Boston would need to send goalie Tuukka Rask in any package to Columbus and it’s unlikely the Bs will want to do that with Thomas looking mortal and getting up there in age. But the Bruins do have the cap room to take Nash on.
Toronto Maple Leafs (11/2): The Leafs print money and adding Nash, who was born in the greater Toronto area, alongside Phil Kessel (although he’s technically a right winger as well) would make Toronto dangerous and likely finally get the Leafs back to the playoffs. The Leafs could build a package around Luke Schenn and prospects.
San Jose Sharks (6/1): San Jose is still looking for its first Stanley Cup Finals berth despite a lot of regular-season success. Nash might be the final piece. The Sharks would have to clear plenty of cap space, but Nash knows the San Jose stars well, having played with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle on the 2010 Canadian Olympic team that won gold in Vancouver, as well as with Thornton in 2004-05 during the NHL's lockout year in Switzerland. I’m just not sure what the Sharks could give up if they won’t trade Marleau or Thornton. There are reports San Jose could build a package around top goalie prospect Thomas Greiss as well as forward Joe Pavelski.
Philadelphia Flyers (6/1): Philly made its big splash this offseason in getting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and it would seem the Flyers would need to address defense over offense with Chris Pronger out for the year and maybe forever. But GM Paul Holmgren isn’t afraid to make a splash and the Flyers have a ton of young talent and could include goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and forward Braydon Schenn in any package.
Vancouver Canucks (7/1): It’s too bad the Canucks don’t have goalie Cory Schneider under a long-term deal as he would be a great centerpiece of any trade for Nash. Schneider is set to become a restricted free agent and there’s no way Vancouver can afford to bring him back. The Canucks would definitely have to free up some cap room to get Nash and then would have two crippling contracts in Nash’s and Roberto Luongo’s for the next several years.
Los Angeles Kings (7/1): The Kings, with all their talent, somehow are last in the NHL in goals per game at 2.1. They are desperate for offense as Mike Richards has been a big disappointment. L.A. could offer some package built around goalie Jonathan Bernier and perhaps defenseman Jack Johnson. The Kings also have one of the better farm systems in the NHL.
Any other team (5/1): The only sleeper I have heard of so far is the St. Louis Blues. The Buffalo Sabres also could get involved as new ownership has not been afraid to spend money. Montreal just doesn’t have the pieces.
Remember that it is up to Nash where he wants to go, so that plays a role. It would seem like he would love to play for Toronto, having grown up watching and rooting for the Leafs, but the Kings could potentially give the best package and might be the most desperate team on this list. However, they gave up a lot to get Richards and might not be willing to give up more young talent.
The bet here is Toronto – you can also double up or cover your bet as Bovada offers a prop on whether Nash is dealt to the Eastern Conference (-180) or West (+130). I would probably go Leafs but then put some money down on the West just in case the Kings get aggressive.
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