Do the Rangers need Rick Nash?

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It’s already been discussed in the comments section here, but since it’s New York Rangers day on PHT, we have to dedicate an entire post to Rick Nash.

Specifically, should Rangers GM Glen Sather acquire the Blue Jackets’ captain in a trade?

Obviously, the answer depends largely on what Sather has to give up to get Nash. Columbus GM Scott Howson has said repeatedly that the price will be high.

“If we do complete a trade, we’re trading out a 30 to 40 goal scorer,” said Howson. “Defense is probably the strongest part of our team if we look at it today, so we’re looking to get some NHL forwards back first and foremost.”

Howson is also reportedly seeking high-end youngsters, with names like Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan popping up in Rangers-related speculation.

Throw in a first-round pick and you can understand many Rangers’ fans reluctance to support a trade for Nash.

However, it has to be noted that Columbus Dispatch beat writer Aaron Portzline has “been told repeatedly” that Howson has not demanded Kreider, McDonagh or Stepan from Sather.

The Rangers do have other prospects like JT Miller, Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath that could form part of a package.

For Sather, it’s a tough decision. On the one hand, he says he doesn’t want to “dismantle the core of our organization. We’ve got a lot of good young kids, and we want to let them grow and develop.”

On the other hand, New York didn’t exactly fill the net in the playoffs and Nash has 272 goals in the last eight seasons — a feat he managed playing alongside a revolving door of mostly mediocre centers. (Suffice to say Brad Richards would be a significant upgrade on any pivot he’s skated with recently in Columbus.)

Nash, 28, has six seasons left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $7.8 million, the fifth highest hit in the NHL.