Joe Pavelski

Rick Nash to the Sharks? Probably not

By Guest Contributor Kyle McLorg

Twitter came alive yesterday with chatter regarding the San Jose Sharks trading to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash. My buddy suggested I write something about it, but I swore to myself I wouldn’t until I has some solid ground to stand on.

At this point though, the rumors regarding Nash have gotten too big for me to ignore.

The Blue Jackets, at 17-34-6, are in the middle of a nightmare season and are said to be shopping Nash, their star left right wing, in hopes of beginning the rebuilding process. Nash, in his third ninth full year with the club, has 18 goals and 21 assists and would certainly be a game-changing addition should the Sharks trade to acquire him. The question is — at what cost?

Don’t get too excited — the price might be to steep. According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, several teams are in the mix for Nash, most notably the Canucks, Flyers, Rangers and Kings. LeBrun named the Sharks as a wild card team in terms of acquiring Nash, along with the St. Louis Blues.

Should Rick Nash be traded before the trade deadline of February 27th, he would be the hottest commodity in the NHL. The demand is high, so the Blue Jackets stand to get a hefty package in return; something that perhaps would be too cost prohibitive for San Jose.

Columbus would likely demand not only a goal tender, but also a playmaking skater or two in return for Nash. The Sharks certainly have depth at goalie — with Thomas Griess as the favorite trade bait — considering that they have a solid starter in Antti Niemi as well as Alex Stalock and Tyson Sexsmith waiting in the wings. But the next name that would be called from the Sharks, as Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area pointed out on Chronicle Live last night, would most likely be Joe Pavelski. The Dudes On Hockey agree.

Pavelski has been the breakout star for the Sharks this year with 22 goals and 22 assists. He has flourished playing with the Sharks’ top skaters this year and is probably the most valuable player on the roster; too valuable to be used in a trade package, regardless of who the Sharks would get in return. Given the chemistry and playmaking skills that Pavelski provides, Doug Wilson probably won’t be willing to part ways with him.

The next name on the list is Patrick Marleau. Marleau’s name has been mentioned more often by speculative fans than expert analysts, but the Sharks’ franchise player is an intriguing option. He has the regular season numbers to provoke trade interest. On the same token, Marleau has been a playoff underachiever, giving the Sharks reason to consider pawning him off for a better post-season asset. Chances are this probably won’t happen, though — sentiment surround Marleau is too high, both in Sharks fans’ hearts as well as Doug Wilson’s. That’s all without mentioning the no-trade clause in Marleau’s contract, an obstacle that may close the door on this option.

Given the package of talent that acquiring Nash will command, it seems unlikely that the Sharks will pull this trade off. All the interest surrounding him, however, should serve the Sharks well. It may help them slide under the radar and acquire a few pieces to help down the final stretch towards to the playoffs.

You can find more of Kyle McLorg’s writing at Ruthless Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Ruthless_Sports.

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