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Rick Nash makes sense for the Sharks

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The winger screams “Doug Wilson trade deadline acquisition.”

NHL: New York Rangers at San Jose Sharks
Rick Nash, New York Rangers, with a scoring chance on Martin Jones.
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers forward, Rick Nash, will be a UFA at the end of this season and there is reason to believe he will be dealt before this season’s trade deadline. He has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to submit a 12-team list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Years ago, when Nash was still a Columbus Blue Jacket, there were rumors that San Jose was a trade destination. Rumors about Nash’s landing spot will begin flying around soon and it’s never too early to suggest the Sharks as a good spot for him.

Nash is 33 years old and carries a cap hit of $7.8 million. The Sharks currently have about six million in cap space and depending on who the Sharks would have to send back to the Rangers, it’s feasible that the numbers would work. Numbers aside, there are many reasons for why Nash coming to the west coast would be a perfect fit.

Need for a speedy scorer

New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Nash celebrates a goal against Toronto.
Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images

The Sharks just lost a speedy top six forward in Patrick Marleau. Marleau is one of the older players in the league, but his speed is still top notch and something that the Sharks will miss. Nash is no slouch himself, especially for a big six-foot-four winger. He’s one of, if not the fastest, players among his size. Speed may beat out size during a game, but a combo of speed and size is deadly.

He’s a natural goal scorer. If one of the younger guys on the Sharks doesn’t develop into a 30-goal player this season, then they will need to add someone like Nash. Nash is only two seasons removed from a 42-goal season in 2014-15. Last year he had 23 goals, but only played in 67 games. In New York, Nash has been tasked with a lot of defensive work due to his sound ability in the defensive zone. That’s the type of stuff that doesn’t show up on his stat line. People will always judge Nash on his point production, but that doesn’t paint the complete picture for how good of a player he still is.

The Jumbo Joe connection

Canada v Slovenia
Rick Nash (left) and Joe Thornton (right) while playing for Team Canada in 2005.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Nash and Jumbo are great friends and former linemates with proven chemistry. During the lockouts in 2004-05 and 2012-13, both Thornton and Nash played on the same line in Davos of the Swiss-A league. They dominated in their time together. Seems only natural for the best passer of the last two decades and a natural goal scorer to make a good pair right? Add the fact that they are both giant men, typically larger than the defensemen they are up against, and you have quite the duo.

Thornton and Joe Pavelski have made a great duo, but they get most of their production from zone time and cycling the puck. Pavelski doesn’t have the game-breaking, on the rush speed to produce those much-needed transition goals. Those same transition goals that seem to kill the Sharks every time they play the Oilers and other young up and coming teams. Add Nash to the Joe line and you would certainly have the best over-30 line in the league and possibly one of the best lines in the NHL.

Getting Nash wouldn’t come for free, of course. A 1st or 2nd round pick would almost definitely have to be given up. A young prospect like Danny O’Regan, Julius Bergman, or Chris Tierney could potentially be involved. The Sharks will probably be reluctant to give up Timo Meier or Kevin Labanc right now, but if it meant keeping a future 1st round pick, then there’s a possibility that they end up on the table.

If the Sharks are looking for a top line guy, Nash seems like he’d look very appealing to Doug Wilson.