Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Brad Richards/Rick Nash Dilemma?!
1) There are several layers to that title question. In the short term coach Vigneault has to decide how much and when to play the teams most highly paid/underachieving forwards. In the long term does management buy one (if not both) out this summer? The first question is playing itself out clearly in these Cup Finals. Rick Nash, whom the team traded for 2 years ago to be that 'final piece' to the puzzle has never seemed to be able to once again be the player that he was, well, 5-6 years ago? Yes, we said it. Nash has NOT really been a great performer for a LONG time now. (His last 40 goal season was 2009- and he has only done that one other time, never coming close to the magical 50 goal plateau). In our opinion he has been one of the most over rated forwards since Keith Tkachuk (who actually DID score 50) We don't know why folks are shocked to see him struggle.
2) That said, IF the team is going to rely on him, why isn't he a mainstay on the power play? At least on the 2nd team PP unit? Until the ladder stages of last night's game he wasn't used at all on the PP in the Finals. The PP was 0-6, and of the 12 minutes with the extra man, Nash saw the ice for 2 of them. You would think he would be a player you'd want down low scoring dirty PP goals, disrupting the defense/goalie, no? As for Richards, his struggles go back further. Some believed he'd be bought out last summer, but to his credit had a decent regular season. Another player like Nash who has been vastly over rated/over paid. Brad has neither EVER eclipsed the 40 goal or 100 point plateaus! far less than a point/game career, yet he has signed 2 very lucrative contracts. Oddly last night Vigneault played Richards more on the PP than even strength. Playing over 8 minutes on NY's 6 PP's, and a mere 7 mins. even strength. By far the least of any NY forward.
3) The writing would appear to be on the wall for Richards who has an astounding 6 more seasons left after this one on his contract that pays him a cap hit of 6.7 million. The Rangers would be fools to not use their last remaining 'complience buy out' (no cap penalty) Freeing up the cap space to attain/retain a more valuable player(s). Keep in mind the Rangers used their first buy out on Wade Redden so they can not buy out both Richards and Nash free of penalty. Nash has 'a mere 4' more seasons at a cap anchoring number of 7.8 million. We believe that Sather will retain Nash for at least one more season. (unlikely they could find a sucker to trade him to). As we wrote a few weeks back, if the Rangers fail to win a Cup either this season or next, the team is going to be line for a significant fall back to Earth and a possible dreaded 'rebuild'. Unfortunately, their prospect pool is thin and they have already traded away this and next years 1st round picks (for St. Louis) I hope you enjoyed this springs ride Ranger fans, it may be the last for the foreseeable future.