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BREAKING UNSOURCED SPECULATIVE NEWS: No, Nash Isn’t Being Traded

It's bad enough when unnamed sources cause players to stress over trades, but Rick Nash is the victim of rumor via fantasy proposal.

It’s bad enough when unnamed sources cause players to stress over trades, but Rick Nash is the victim of rumor via fantasy proposal.

One speculative column on what the Rangers might receive for Rick Nash if they traded him, has led to a windfall of baseless rumors, culminating in this gem from TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Words like “might” and “considering” and “looking into” are being thrown around in regards to a potential Nash trade. Hell, it’s certified trade buzz at this point.

All this, because two hockey writers created headlines with what was essentially a fantasy trade proposal involving a major star winger from America’s biggest market team. There were no sources listed, not even anonymous ones. We can’t even find somebody claiming to be a New York Rangers stick boy, to say that he overheard a friend of a third cousin of an ex-girlfriend of a Rangers Assistant GM’s secretary talk about a Nash trade being discussed at a meeting.

I traded Anze Kopitar and Milan Lucic for Tyler Seguin in my fantasy hockey league this year (Which worked out beautifully btw. Thanks Chris!). Does Kopitar to Dallas get to be a real life rumor, too? How about the trades that this guy made the other day in EA Sports’ NHL ‘15?

Yes, Larry Brooks is well-connected, so is Bob McKenzie. But neither of these men are too shy to outright tell you when anonymous sources within an organization are discussing trade possibilities. Even if that were the case, Brooks’ so-called sources tell him lots of things. Like at last season’s trade deadline, when Mats Zuccarello was being traded and Keith Yandle’s name did not appear in print until after the Rangers acquired him. Sources aside, Brooks is shameless enough to argue against his own logic in regards to Nash. Give the man credit, he knows how to pull eyes.

Even real e-mail conversations with Rangers GM Glen Sather can be spun into misleading headlines about him stepping down.

The headline from the NY Post today: “Glen Sather Considers Stepping Down As Rangers GM”.

Now, this is something that could legitimately happen and soon. Sather has cryptically referred to his retirement as a hockey GM in the past (while also denying it), and due to his age and refusal to let other teams speak to heir apparent assistant GM Jeff Gorton during the playoffs, it is not a stretch to believe that Sather will not be the team GM at this year’s draft.

But common sense doesn’t make for splash headlines. According to Brooks, e-mail exchanges like this do:

Asked whether he would be returning for his 16th year as GM, or whether he had yet to make that decision, Sather replied: “Sorry, I don’t have anything to tell you.”

To the follow-up email in which The Post asked whether it would then be accurate to write that he is, in fact, undecided about his future, Sather responded: “OK.”

To truly grasp how lame this is, pretend that Larry is a desperate teenage boy trying to rekindle his relationship with sweetheart Gwen Sather. And the following is their text exchange:

LARRY: hey its me. so you make a decision yet on if we r gettin back togther????

GWEN: sorry, I don’t have ne thing to tell you.

LARRY: so like, would it b accurate l if i tell my friends that u r undecided about our future??

GWEN: OK.

Larry then sends out a group text to his friends: “GWEN SATHER CONSIDERS GETTING BACK TOGETHER WITH ME!”

But hey, that’s the type of hard hitting journalism that we’ve come to expect from the NY Post. Thankfully, a rival journalist took it upon himself to confirm the veracity of the headline from an actual source.

Back to Nash.

Is it correct to say that he is the best trade chip the Rangers have? If we were not in playoff contention year to year, the answer would be yes. But having been a final four finisher in three of the past four seasons, it’s more likely that the Rangers are one or two small pieces away, if any, from winning. Trading Nash will almost certainly not bring back a player of equal value in the short term. It is more likely that we receive a package similar to what we sent the Blue Jackets in 2012, i.e. an impact second line player, a third liner, a prospect and a few draft picks.

Are we better off with Dubinsky and Anisimov back in the lineup, replacing a scoring power forward who is coming off an MVP-caliber regular season?

Just remember that we had a team of grinding, home-grown talent on a contending team in 2011-2012, when we took the best record in the East into the playoffs, and made it as far as Game 6 of the Conference Finals when…we lost due to our inability to score goals. This had been a theme with the Rangers long before Nash was acquired. Marian Gaborik had the same problem…until he went to L.A. and didn’t.

The only logical explanation is that the Rangers, from a strategic standpoint, tend to play a more conservative, suffocating style in the playoffs that winds up stifling their own offense. Also, it’s damn hard to score in the playoffs, with this year’s postseason serving as the ultimate proof. Goalies were hot, defenses were stingy. Nash’s 14 points in 19 games weren’t great, not what we expected, but far from disastrous.

In terms of getting back equal or better value, the Rangers would be better off trading Keith Yandle, Dan Girardi (NTC), or Carl Hagelin, though I wouldn’t place money on it happening.

The truth is that the Rangers have always been a wild card when it comes to trades, and the organization is notoriously tight-lipped. The public won’t know what the plan is until it is revealed, which makes for some fun but ultimately flawed guesswork.

We have to keep ourselves entertained in the offseason somehow.

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