Columbus still interested in hearing offers for Rick Nash

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Say what you will about Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson – he’s not sitting idly by as the trade deadline approaches. Howson has already loaded up on youth and picks with the Antoine Vermette and Jeff Carter trades, but Aaron Portzline reports that Rick Nash is “still available for [the] right price.”

Really, the only difference is that the Los Angeles Kings are no longer in the running (barring something really bizarre happening).

Plenty of other teams have reportedly shown interest in Nash, with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks making the biggest waves so far. Just about any contender with some cap space could conceivably get in the bidding, as long as they’re willing to pay the price in terms of assets and Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit.

The Carter trade only solidifies the notion that Nash will come at a significant cost since Columbus received a first-round pick and a talented young defenseman in that swap.

Moving Carter might relax a little bit of the tension for Howson to move Nash by the deadline itself. Much has been made about the off-season potentially being a better time to maximize his trade value since it’s likely that more teams could be in the bidding, but the pressure was really building.

Now Blue Jackets fans might be appeased by the fact that Howson got a nice package for a guy who clearly didn’t want to stay in Columbus.

If nothing else, hockey fans have at least one blockbuster trade to chew on, so this year’s general trade deadline time won’t be a total letdown – even if the day itself ends up being underwhelming.

More on the big Carter-to-LA trade: All sides seem happy with the move.