The end of the Rick Nash era in New York has finally come, and it didn’t end the way both parties intended it to.
When the Rangers acquired Nash, they felt that he was the piece that would take them over the hump. Prior to debuting on Broadway, Nash had already scored 40 goals twice for the Columbus Blue Jackets and put up 30 the year prior to joining the Blueshirts.
He led them to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2013-14 season and the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014-15. Despite those accomplishments, the team and Nash never reached their goal, winning a Stanley Cup. The Rangers also named him alternate captain prior to the start of the 2016-17 regular season.
It took time for Nash to grow accustomed to playing in a big market like New York City. Once he felt comfortable in the big lights, Nash showed that the Rangers got the type of player that they had been lacking for some time.
Finding the right mix was always difficult for the Nash and the Rangers. He saw time with players like Marion Gaborik, Chris Kreider, Martin St. Louis, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, Brad Richards, and Derek Stepan. All great offensive players that along with Nash, helped spark a productive Ranger offense.
Nash scored 252 points (145 goals, and 107 assists) in his time with the Rangers. He had one 40 goal season in the 2014-15 season when he led the team with 45. That year, Nash was on a mission to silence his critics who were hard on him during the 2013-14 playoffs.
The regular season was always successful for Nash in his time with the Rangers. He showed why the fans in Columbus were so heartbroken when the Blue Jackets traded him to New York.
Prior to coming to the Rangers, Nash had only been to the postseason once in his career. In that one trip in 2008-09, he had three points in four games. But Nash would not reach the postseason again until the trade with the Blueshirts in 2012-13.
If there was anything we learned about Rick Nash in the postseason is that he is an all-around great player. We learned this because early on in his postseason career with the Blueshirts, Nash looked like a defenseman playing the forward position.
As he learned what type of atmosphere the playoffs was, Nash’s game and production increased each postseason run. Despite the minimal success, Nash never really gave the Rangers the production that they thought would get. He’s scored just 14 goals in 73 playoff games with the Blueshirts.
Everyone’s goal in the playoffs is to win it all. Nash and the Rangers came close but in the end were not able to bring the Cup back to New York.
The Rick Nash era in New York has mixed reviews. He always went about his business the right way. He was someone that you could look up to and respect on and off the ice. He always gave his all and was really committed to New York. Those are great qualities that you look for in a player, but you have to be able to produce and most importantly win.
That wasn’t the case for Nash. Him going MIA in the postseason too many times and having a cap hit of $7.8 million changes the way you assess his tenure in New York. He was brought here to be the guy, he wasn’t when it mattered most.
If the Rangers were asked to make the Rick Nash trade again, they probably would. He was a great New York Ranger, but like so many other players the last 20 years, it just simply didn’t work out.