Rick Nash is under contract through 2018, and says he wants to stay in New York.
But questions surrounding his future don’t seem to be going away.
With many predicting significant changes coming to the Rangers following their playoff exit to Ottawa, Nash confirmed his desire to stay in the Big Apple during Thursday’s end-of-year media availability.
“I plan on being here, I plan on being a Ranger,” Nash said, per WFAN 660. “As a player, you can’t control that. You’ve got to leave that up to management.
“I love being a Ranger.”
The 32-year-old is heading into the last of a monster eight-year, $62.4 million deal with a $7.8 million average annual cap hit. He has a modified no-trade clause — Nash can submit a 12-team trade list — and the Post has already floated him as a potential trade deadline rental for next season.
But one wonders if Nash will see the writing on the wall. It certainly sounds like he has, to some degree.
He, like many other Rangers, lamented how the current group blew a good opportunity, losing to a seemingly beatable Ottawa team. And this was the latest in a series of missed chances. New York has been to the playoffs every year in the Nash era and had some good success — one Cup Final appearance, three Eastern Conference finals — but never won it all.
Last year it was a first-round exit and this year, a second. The reality of the window closing is setting in.
“For me, it’s disappointing when you have a team that’s this good and an opportunity like we did,” Nash said on Tuesday, per the Post. “You only get so many cracks at this.”
Nash also surely knows that GM Jeff Gorton will probably continue to make his roster younger, and faster. This started last summer with the Derick Brassard-for-Mika Zibanejad trade, the acquisition of Jimmy Vesey and the growth of roles for Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich.
If Gorton wants to continue down that path, some longtime Rangers could be in play.