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The Puck Stops Here

Rick Nash Trade

When the current CBA was agreed upon in 2005, Gary Bettman told us it would prevent all the talent from winding up in the larger markets.  This was never true.  Liberalization of free agency rules would make players more likely to come available on the market and available players would be more likely to go to the biggest markets.  In the last few months the Columbus Blue Jackets have traded their two best players to the two biggest cities in the United States.  Jeff Carter was traded to Los Angeles and Rick Nash has now been traded to New York.  This is exactly the situation Bettman claimed would not happen in this CBA.

The Nash trade happened yesterday.  It was about five months after we first learned that Nash wanted a trade from Columbus.  I find it hard to understand why the process took five months.  I don’t think this deal is any better than deals that were available five months ago.  The deal was Nash, minor leaguer Steve Delisle and a conditional third round draft pick in 2013 to the New York Rangers for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round draft pick in 2013.

This leaves Columbus a last place team.  Vinny Prospal and Derick Brassard are the only Columbus players who scored 40 points last season.  The Blue Jackets only hope is that they manage to draft well to get out of this hole.  They have three first round draft picks in 2013 - though likely two will be late in the first round. 

As for New York, I don’t think this deal will lead to any improvements in 2012/13.  They won the East Conference and made the semi-finals last year.  They did so with poor puck possession numbers and will be without Marian Gaborik until Christmas or so. 

Scott Howson has torn the Columbus Blue Jackets apart. It doesn’t look like there is much of a path forward to lead them to anything better.  He should have been replaced as Blue Jacket GM a while ago.  I don’t see how this Nash trade is a success for Columbus or why it was necessary to wait five months to get this deal.

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Comments

phillyphever's avatar

Don’t blame the CBA for this. Blame Howson for failing to put together a team that can give Nash a shot at winning.

Posted by phillyphever on 07/24/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Avatar

Definitely the wrap is on Howson on this particular trade, but the cap originally spread the talent around, as teams could not afford more than a few big name (and big salary) players, even if this was not the original intention of the cap.

The cap was supposed to drive the salaries, but it has turned out to be the other way around. We are now at a situation where the big market teams drive up the salary cap, and the small market teams scrape together enough money to meet the floor. No way in 2007 could the Rangers afford Gaborik, Richards, Nash, Staal and Lunquist (plus a cap hit on Drury and burying Redden’s deal) and still field a full team. Nor could Minnesota afford Parise and Suter and still manage a complete roster.

Posted by smallmarket from NY on 07/24/12 at 05:06 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

For the record, Nick Foligno had more than 40 points last year.

Otherwise, I more or less agree - but to be fair I’m not sure it’s within the power of a collective barganing agreement to change the fact that players often want to play where they want to play and the good ones will always have some choice in the matter.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 07/24/12 at 05:33 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I’m not sure it’s within the power of a collective barganing agreement to change the fact that players often want to play where they want to play and the good ones will always have some choice in the matter

Obviously good players will be more likely to get to play where they want.  The CBA increased their ability to do this by making them free at a younger age.

The salary cap is a red herring.  A team doesn’t have to acquire all the names who come on the market - they merely need to acquire the best one or two.  This best one or two players who come on the market today are better than they were when they became free agents at age 31.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/24/12 at 05:48 PM ET

Avatar

The CBA increased their ability to do this by making them free at a younger age.

That’s not in any way relevant to the Nash situation since he is under contract.

Posted by Garth on 07/24/12 at 05:59 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Indirectly it is.  The CBA increased mobility of players.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/24/12 at 06:10 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Gary Bettman told us it would prevent all the talent from winding up in the larger markets.

Do you have the direct quote from Bettman and the context in which it appeared?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/24/12 at 06:20 PM ET

Avatar

The CBA increased mobility of players.

This has NOTHING to do with the CBA.

If Nash had been on the Winnipeg Jets in 1986 and demanded a trade he would’ve gotten it.

Demanding a trade is not something that is new to this CBA.

If you replaced Nash’s name with Ryan Suter or Shea Weber you might have a point, but the CBA doesn’t have anything to do with the Nash situation.

Posted by Garth on 07/24/12 at 06:47 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The current CBA was sold to us based upon a lie.  We were told that small markets needed help keeping their top players under contract and not have them go to the top markets.  This was despite the fact they didn’t reach unrestricted free agency until age 31. 

We were told that big markets were winning all of the Stanley Cups.  This is despite the fact Dallas, Colorado, New Jersey and Tampa Bay were winning Stanley Cups - in some cases multiple cups.  Somehow we were led to believe that these markets were large.  That is one hell of a load of BS.  When I look around today all of these markets are smaller than average.  Nobody in their right mind would call them large.  Detroit has also won multiple cups.  They are larger than average.  They are clearly not the largest market.  Detroit is no New York or Chicago or Los Angeles and given the problems in the automotive industry they are not the strongest economy in the US by any measure.  The ultimate large market was New York.  They bought all the aging free agents and they couldnt make the playoffs.  This wasn’t a problem but we were told that it was and many of us believed it.

The proposed solution was a salary cap.  That solution does not even address the issue.  A salary cap raises the number of player moves if only because it forces extra moves for salary cap reasons.  It was a lie.  The fact it was coupled with free agency liberalization made for even more players being moved.  Teams had a harder chance of keeping players under this CBA and its framers knew that even if the told us otherwise.

The small markets were bought off because of revenue sharing They were able to placate their fans with the promise that they would be able to keep their players even though it was patently false.  At least they could argue that they would be more competitive because there was no longer a team paying five times their payroll (to miss the playoffs in New York).

We were promised that this CBA would prevent players from going to the big markets.  It actually increased them.  It increased them because it helps NHL revenues if the big markets are successful.  It was the plan all along and it worked.  If the CBA worked as the promises the NHL gave us, Columbus would not be making the moves they are currently making.

Freeing up players as this CBA has done has led to more player movement even among those players signed up longterm.  The more a roster turns over, the more a player or management decides to move the player signed up longterm.  In this case it was Nash who initiated a trade since he saw all his teammates changing year after year and his team was only getting worse.  The increased player movement indirectly led to this trade.  the CBA indirectly led to this trade.  We were promised that it would have the opposite effect.  That was a lie and it helps to point out when we see exactly the opposite we were promised occur under this CBA.  It works that way because that is the way it was designed to work.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/25/12 at 01:29 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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