Reports: Columbus listening to offers for Rick Nash

But his next destination will be determined not as much by cap space as his own willingness to move and the talent offered in exchange

The rumors and reports swirled over the last week, that Rick Nash, the long-time face of Columbus’ Franchise was open to a trade at that Blue Jackets management would be amenable to moving him. Even I called for them to think about it:

Which brings me to Rick Nash. It’s difficult to picture a scenario where their one and only bonafide star is sent packing. But it’s worth remembering, this is an epically bad team. If Nash can fetch what is being sought for Ryan or Getzlaf then they should think long and hard about shopping their franchise player. Keeping him to placate fans who are already hacked off at the direction things have gone is not going to do it. Building a long term winning franchise will. At this point it is necessary to ask, can Nash contribute to that by being a part of that team, or by being traded to acquire the parts that go into that team?

Since confirming reports were added to the initial round of speculation, the current concern has become how will this team or that team afford Rick Nash and his $7.8 million cap hit. That portion of the conjecture is completely wrong-headed.

Below the fold, we’ll run down the more immediate concerns that Columbus will need to address to get an adequate return for Nash.

Capologists know this already. Most every team can afford Rick Nash, this year. With the rapidly approaching trade deadline a team that takes on salary within the season only takes a hit on the portion of salary owed for the remainder of the season. While Nash’s cap hit for the 2012-13 season and subsequent ones out until the 2017-18 season is the aforementioned $7.8 million, that doesn’t reflect the hit a team would take for the balance of 2011-12 season.

Calculating the hit today makes Nash a much more easily affordable $2.366 million, or so (that’s a rough estimate based on a total of 1672 games completed out of a scheduled 2400, for a total of 69.67% of the season remaining). With every passing game that cap hit decreases a little more and makes fitting Nash below the cap for the coming season more plausible.

Based on that back of the envelop calculation, only the Flames with just over $1.7 million in deadline cap space and the Canucks with a little better than $750K would need to clear salary in order to add Nash. Looking ahead to 2012-13, only the Flyers (as presently constituted would be poised to be over the cap with the addition of Nash this year. All figures come from the fantastic and invaluable CapGeek

What that means is that Nash is out in a sellers market. Plenty of teams could use a scorer of Nash’s skill. Obviously the Rangers have been linked to Nash. The Kings sure could use him. Even the Bruins, whose fanbase has been clamoring for more goal scoring could stand to benefit from the addition of Columbus’ (sonn to be former?) Captian.

One significant hurdler remains. Nash is famously reticent about leaving Columbus and further avoiding the harsh glare of a larger market. To that end, Nash has a No Movement Clause, which becomes a No Trade Clause following the 2014-15 season. But with confirmation that the Blue Jackets are listening suggests Nash might be ready to depart.