Even with the season now underway, the Rangers have still yet to engage in extension discussions with winger Rick Nash, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest 31 Thoughts column. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported back in August that no substantive discussions had occurred and it certainly appears that neither side is in a hurry to kick-start discussions on a possible new deal to keep him in New York.
The 33-year-old is in the final year of his contract that carries a cap hit of $7.8MM and a salary of $8.2MM. While he was one of the top goal-scoring threats in the prime of his career, Nash has seen his production tail off in recent years as he has failed to hit 40 points in each of the past two seasons while missing considerable time due to injury in each.
While it seems like a given that Nash will be taking a pay cut on his next deal, determining how much of one it will be is a bit more of a challenge. The contract that Toronto handed Patrick Marleau (three years, $18.75MM) is likely something that his camp will be pointing to in any negotiations and while that would represent a decrease in pay, that contract would probably be too rich for the Rangers who looked to prioritize cap flexibility over the summer and a deal like that would cut into that considerably. On the flip side, New York may look to a contract former Ranger Eric Staal signed a couple of summers ago with the Wild as a potential comparable, three years with an AAV of $3.5MM.
While it’s still early, Nash isn’t off to the greatest start this season as he has been held off the scoresheet through the first four games while he is averaging 15:59 per night, his lowest ATOI since his rookie season back in 2002-03.
Friedman speculates that on top of prioritizing flexibility moving forward, the Rangers may want to see where they’re at in the standings before deciding whether to pursue an extension or potentially put him on the trade block. Nash’s partial no-trade clause requires him to submit a list of 12 teams he’d accept a trade to if the team requests it; Friedman notes that the Rangers have not yet asked for that list.