Joe Pavelski

Sharks have become “strong contenders” to acquire Nash

Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said that the Sharks would not pull the trigger on Rick Nash.

TSN’s Darren Dreger broke the news on Tuesday night that the Sharks have made a push to acquire the Blue Jackets’ captain and have apparently emerged as “strong contenders.” The Blue Jackets originally requested Logan Couture as part of the trade package for Nash, but Doug Wilson reportedly has told Columbus that Couture is off-limits.

Couture has been a standout in his last two seasons. In 2010-11 he was the runner up for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) to Jeff Skinner; he had 32 goals and 24 assists with a +18 plus/minus. Logan is now on pace for an equally productive year with 25 goals, 24 assists and a +7 average. With this kind of production at 22, it makes sense that he would be too valuable for Wilson let go.

The next logical choice is Joe Pavelski. Easily a top fan favorite in San Jose, Pavelski has been having a stellar season as well. He has scored 22 goals and knotted 24 assists with an impressive +16 average.

It would be hard for many Sharks fans to watch “Little Joe” walk, not only for sentimental reasons but also for his postseason production. Pavelski has found a way to get hot in the playoffs, as evidenced by his 27 points and a +7 average in the last two postseasons. He has certainly developed into a very good player, both offensively and defensively.

Nash hasn’t been too shabby either. He has 20 goals and 21 assists on the season, but also scored over 30 goals and 30 assists in each of the four seasons prior. Although he has only one series of playoff experience in which he had 1 goal and 4 assists, the 28-year-old captain has plenty of leadership skills and plenty of hockey left to play.

Nash is apparently close friends with Joe Thornton, the Sharks current captain, which could play a role in Nash’s decision. He currently has a no-trade clause in his contract with Columbus.

Rumored to be included in the proposed package for Nash are a number of prospects, including a goalie. Which prospects is yet to be determined, but Columbus got a sneak peek at one of their goaltender options in Thomas Griess last night, who gave up 3 goals on 24 shots.

If the Sharks were auditioning to woo Nash into coming last night, they certainly didn’t impress. The got routed by the lowly Blue Jackets (18-35-7), 6-3. This probably won’t dissuade Nash, however, as the Sharks are a team brimming with talent and the playoffs are a likely result for San Jose.

Nash could provide the spark that jump starts the Sharks, and they need it, because they’re sinking fast. We’ll keep you posted on Bay Area Sports Guy as the story develops.

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

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