Travis: With the Rick Nash saga finally over, there's a clear winner, the New York Rangers. The Rangers get a first line winger without breaking up their core or giving up their top prospects, which leads to this question; did Scott Howson get enough for Rick Nash? Unfortunately for Howson, Nash forced his way out which meant other GM's knew Columbus had to get rid fo him driving down Nash's trade value.
However, the problem that arises for Howson is in trading Nash he failed to get anything of significant value. Artem Anisimov is a solid all around player but is hardly a first line talent, and Brandon Dubinsky is coming off a season that now has him labeled as overpaid. Tim Erixon, the prospect heading to Columbus has character concerns; he already declined to sign his entry level contract with Calgary and may not have first pairing upside. The Jackets also get a first round pick but one cannot imagine that pick will be very high come next June.
The bottom line for Scott Howson is that he failed to secure at least one of JT Miller, Chris Kreider, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh or Derek Stepan. It seems that Howson settled for quantity over quality which could come back to haunt the jackets further into obscurity. Time will tell if the trade will actually work out; we can speculate on paper all we want, but as of today you have to wonde rif Howson got enough.
P.S. The real loser? Tim Erixon. Erixon forced a trade to the Rangers after refusing to sign with the Flames. Erixon played all of 18 games in the Big Apple and now finds himself shipped out to Columbus.
Patrick: While Anisimov and Dubinsky are still young players, I don't see how they'll improve dramatically as their careers advance. Erixon could end up being a good defenceman, but I still don't see how Howson couldn't get McDonagh when Anisimov and Dubi were included in the trade.
To me this was a poor trade for the Blue Jackets. It's believed that many teams were interested in Nash and while he doesn't have the greatest contract out there, I'm sure Columbus could've found a better package with another team.
How good will the Rangers be? A first line of Gaborik, Nash and Richards could net 100 goals combined, which is scary considering New York's main issue last year was scoring.
Travis: I actually don't think there was any chance the Rangers parted with McDonagh. Del Zotto on the other hand is a different story and would have provided the Jackets with a young offensive defenceman to build around.
While the Rangers should be better at putting the puck in the net, they still play in a stacked division where 4 out of 5 teams could easily take the division, not to mention the Islanders should continue to improve. If the Flyers do indeed get Shea Weber then the East will be very competitive and should make for a very entertaining first round of the playoffs once again.
Patrick: I definitely agree with the strength of the Atlantic Division. Call me crazy but I could see the Isles finishing ahead of New Jersey next season.
When will the Blue Jackets ever be relevant though? They have a bunch of average players and Jack Johnson to build around. It seems like they'll have to be bad for a while before the are good. The strategy has worked for teams like Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles though.
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