Columbus Blue Jackets: Revisiting the Rick Nash Trade


Columbus Blue Jackets: Revisiting the Rick Nash Trade, a Throwback Thursday Edition

Thursdays have recently become a day for remembrance, nostalgia and a brief history lesson.  Here at Union and Blue, we like to take the time to reflect on Blue Jackets history.  Today, we are looking at the trade that broke many hearts in the Blue Jackets community: Rick Nash to the New York Rangers.

On June 22nd, 2002, the Blue Jackets traded the third overall pick to the Florida Panthers for the first overall selection.  With that selection, the Blue Jackets brass took the stage in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre to select LW Rick Nash out of the London Knights organization.  The Blue Jackets trading up to draft Rick Nash was a franchise defining moment for the organization and has helped mold the team we see today.  Unfortunately, the summer of 2012 saw Nash moved to the New York Rangers, but lets look at Nash’s time with the Blue Jackets and the impact of the 2012 trade.

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What did Rick Nash accomplish with the Blue Jackets?

Nash was featured on the opening night roster the season immediately following his draft.  Not only was he featured on the opening night roster vs. the Blackhawks, but he scored his first NHL goal in that game. Nash continued to build on that initial goal with an All-Rookie Team appointment and a Calder Trophy nomination.  Nash ultimately lost the prized trophy to Barrett Jackman.

Nash’s second year was historic, as the 19 year old lead the league in points with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk to collectively win the Maurice “Rocket Richard” Trophy by amassing 41 goals.  Nash became the youngest player in NHL history to lead the league in scoring.  Nash continued impressive play for the Blue Jackets in seasons to follow, the team decided to name him captain in 2008 and he was able to carry the team into the Franchise’s first playoff appearance in the 2008-09 season.

What was the trade?

Columbus Blue Jackets
Oct 30, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (17) passes the puck against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

After a dismal start to the 2011-12 season Rick Nash was rumored to be on the move.  The Blue Jackets were looking to be a more complete and competitive team on the ice and Nash was reportedly looking to move to larger-market team.  The New York Rangers came knocking and eventually a trade was finalized in the offseason sending Nash to New York City.

The Blue Jackets sent Nash and Steve Delisle to the Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixon and a first round pick.  Today, Brandon Dubinsky is arguably the heart and soul of the Blue Jackets team.  He shows up every game, skates hard and is a leader on and off the ice.  While he may not be a first line center, he is a great top six option who is a key part of the teams future.

Artem Anisimov is a skilled middle six center who was moved to the Chicago Blackhawks in a trade that brought Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets.  Saad is a key piece of the Blue Jackets core and through his first season he is leading the team in scoring.  Sending Anisimov and Marko Dano as the key pieces to Chicago looks like a homerun for the Blue Jackets organization.

Tim Erixon, unfortunately, has been involved in numerous trades and has yet to crack an NHL lineup for consistent playing time.  Currently with the Penguins organization, Erixon has remained with the teams AHL affiliate and he is not expected to see a call up this season. Erixon was traded to Chicago Blackhawks for Jeremy Morin in 2014.  Morin was later included in the previously mentioned Saad trade.

The acquired first round pick was used to select Kerby Rychel, who is currently moving between the Blue Jackets and Lake Erie Monsters.  Rychel is a tough player who appears to be butting heads with the organization, having requested a trade earlier this season.  It remains likely that Rychel is traded in the near future, which would further increase the impact of the Rick Nash trade on the Blue Jacket’s organization.  It is assumed that Rychel would bring back a key prospect or high pick that would further add to the Blue Jackets depth.

Next: Development of Zach Werenski

The pieces that have emerged from the Nash trade have allowed for the Blue Jackets to build a more complete and competitive team.  Brandon Saad, Kerby Rychel and Brandon Dubinsky are all highly skilled assets linked to the Nash trade and all have bright futures in the NHL.  While Rychel’s future in Columbus is unclear, Saad and Dubinsky remain two cornerstones for the team.  Rick Nash is now on the wrong side of 30 and continues to fight injuries.  Yes, the winger does still put up high point totals, but he does so with an offense-only skill set in a league pushing for responsible two-way play.  The Nash trade was simply a trade for the future and at this stage, the Blue Jackets are finally reaping the rewards of selling on Nash by icing a more complete team.