Darren Dreger calls San Jose Sharks a "strong contender" for Rick Nash

This subject is well worn by now-- we've touched upon Nash to San Jose multiple times over the last week-- but the big names keep mentioning San Jose as a potential destination for Nash to land and it deserves attention considering the ramifications of the potential deal.

This time it's Darren Dreger, a noteworthy member of the power four (Dreger, McKenzie, Lebrun, Friedman) when it comes to trade rumor validity, who is doing the news breaking:

The San Jose Sharks are emerging as a strong contender for Rick Nash. Sources say Columbus initially targeted Logan Couture, but was quickly told that was a non-starter. But, make no mistake, San Jose will stay in the mix until Monday's deadline.

>> Darren Dreger via TSN.ca

The good news is that Logan Couture is off the table. The bad news is that it would seem as if Joe Pavelski would be the player in question getting moved, barring a complete fleecing by Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson in regards to his current roster assets. As we mentioned before (and others have mentioned as well), Pavelski seems like the logical fit for Columbus if they're looking to get a cheap, impact player that can begin to contribute immediately and still be around when the rebuild comes full circle.

And frankly, that makes me a little nervous.

With a cap hit of $4.0MM, and two years left on that contract, Pavelski is an absolute steal at this stage of the game both from a salary and cap standpoint. As FTF writer Snark SD broke down earlier this month, Pavelski been one of San Jose's best players this season at both taking on tough assignments and coming out smelling like roses:

If you haven't heard yet, Joe Pavelski is beast mode this year. he's currently second in the NHL (>20GP) in CORSI rel QOC, and leading the team in defensive zone starts, while only 2nd to Thornton in raw CORSI for forwards. That's simply AB-surd. You can say what you want about his size and speed, but the guy shows up every game, and it shows in the numbers.

>> Snark SD, "Todd McLellan's Deployment"

In essence, he's a player who gives you immense value in all three situations-- even strength, power play, penalty kill-- and has a game that transitions extremely well into the postseason when quality of competition picks up and teams begin to throw numerous looks your way. There's nothing here not to like, too much here not to love, and his affordable contract (right there with Marc-Edouard Vlasic's for best on the team) is something that magnifies that ten fold.

Nash doesn't get you that bang for the buck even if he's a more talented player than Pavelski.

Having said all this, there's some other factors to consider. Let's break it down from the top with this year being in our window of exploration. In other words, we are ignoring the long-term ramifications of Nash's cap hit and term and focusing solely on competing for a Stanley Cup this year.

  • Current untouchables on San Jose's roster before this year's deadline (read: guys who I think are pretty much as safe as possible from being included in a deal)? Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture, Antti Niemi, Martin Havlat, Dan Boyle, and Brent Burns. I'd put Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Joe Pavelski in there as an opinion, but I don't know whether or not that fits with what the organization believes so I'll leave them out
  • If you lose Pavelski and/or Vlasic in a potential deal for Nash you can probably sell Columbus on some non-roster players-- maybe. It doesn't fit with the reports of what Howson is fishing for, but maybe something can be done in that regard. If you lose a guy like Jamie McGinn or Jason Demers/Justin Braun along with that you are a worse team this season.
  • If you move a player like Ryane Clowe, Jamie McGinn, and Jason Demers/Justin Braun for Rick Nash you are a better team this season. If I'm Howson I don't take this deal as it doesn't fulfill the impact player I need to build a team around, but if I'm Doug Wilson I jump at it and make the move if I'm looking to sell out on this year's Cup run.
  • If you are able to reduce the number of roster players you're giving up by sending out first round picks by the bushel (next two years? next three years?) you greenlight that sucker quickly as you are a better team this season. It's all about the window, and with San Jose's first round picks relatively less valuable considering they'll be in the high 20's range over that time frame, that is something which will be appealing to the organization.
  • If I'm Howson I don't do that, but I'm not Howson so my opinion doesn't really matter.
  • I also think it's worth mentioning that Martin Havlat will help alleviate some concerns up front when he returns from injury, but that doesn't have any real relevance to a potential Nash deal.
  • I'm going to stick with my assertion that Nash to San Jose doesn't happen-- I think the pieces involved will be too much for San Jose and would have to include Pavelski-- but the more I see about San Jose in the running the more I realize this thing has some serious momentum and isn't as unrealistic as once believed.
  • In other words, I might just be sticking with that assertion in order to be consistent. This current losing streak has clouded my impeccable sense of self/ego/narcissism.
  • Can Doug Wilson get away with just giving up Clowe (and a package built around him)? I don't think so. But he's done this kind of deal before and Columbus has a history of not meeting expectations. That's intriguing in and of itself.

The NHL Trade Deadline is on Monday at 12 PM Pacific. That gives Wilson five days to figure out what kind of move he's going to make.

Rest assured we'll be watching, buttcheeks clenched, waiting for the shoe to drop.

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