TSN’s Frank Seravalli released an update to his Trade Bait board, and Rick Nash has taken over the top spot. Evander Kane had been there for the entire season, but with the New York Rangers obvious position as sellers, Nash has become the prize of the trade deadline. Seravalli reports that more than ten teams have spoken to the Rangers about Nash since they published their letter to fans about a rebuild, including Nashville, Dallas, Winnipeg, Boston and San Jose. While obviously a passing interest doesn’t mean a deal is incoming, it’s important to note that Nash’s market doesn’t seem limited as we stand just over a week until the deadline.
The Rangers have other rental options in Michael Grabner, Nick Holden and David Desharnais, but Nash remains the jewel of their pending free agents. Even with his declining offensive numbers, teams likely still see him as a valuable addition to their middle-six that can help on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Nashville has been reported as the leaders in the pursuit, though it is still yet to be seen whether they’ll meet the Rangers high asking price. If the acquiring cost drops in the coming days to a point where the Predators are comfortable, you can bet other teams will jump into the fray with their own offers.
At 33 years old, Nash isn’t the 40-goal man of his youth. With just 27 points on the season he is currently putting up the lowest per-game offensive output of his career, but still has 17 goals and is a positive possession player. Though his cap hit is hefty, the Rangers are likely willing to retain some of it to facilitate a trade, and maximize their return. Seravalli reports that no team he’s talked to is willing to include a first-round pick in a package for Kane, which could greatly reduce the market for Nash. The two players’ future could be tied together over the next few weeks, as teams try to match acquisitions made by their rivals.