The Case Against Trading for Nash

After the Buffalo Sabres rebuild took a big step forward this season, the expectations placed on Tim Murray have grown this summer. The process of turning the Sabres back into a contender will need to advance yet again and Murray is expected to be active on the trade market as he was last year.

One name that has begun to pop up as a trade target around the league (and for the Sabres) is Rick Nash. Whether or not Nash is an ideal fit for the Sabres is up for debate as questions over Nash’s age, contract and asking price need to be asked.

Nash, just over a year removed from a 42-goal campaign, is a powerful star forward who would slot in perfectly on the left side of Buffalo’s top-six. In that sense he’s almost a no brainer acquisition for the Sabres. He, among other long time Rangers, has been tabbed for a potential exit this summer as the Rangers are expected to reshape their roster after a disappointing first round playoff exit.

The Rangers are fighting a cap crunch due to big deals handed out to underperforming players, namely Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. Big money has also been paid to Nash (via his contract signed in Columbus), Henrik Lundqvist and Derek Stepan. Combine those big deals with a barren cupboard of prospects and picks after a number of deadline deals and Jeff Gorton is left with quite a pickle on his hands. Continue reading

What makes you elite?

The word elite gets tossed around a lot by hockey fans and members of the media. It seems to be one of those terms that is easy to use to qualify a player’s talent level when discussing career potential or, more often, their trade value.

But is there a way to draw the line on elite players? Is there a specific number that represents the cut off between elite and very good players? Or perhaps the term is so arbitrary that it is nothing more than an adjective that provides a simple way to quantify certain players.

Is Rick Nash elite? Prove it.

What is interesting about determining “elite” players is that the qualifications seem to change every season. Not to mention the fact that those who fall into the “elite” category change on a regular basis.

There is a group of players at every position in the NHL who deserve to be called elite, or superstars. However, with this term being used so loosely, I wonder if the opinion of elite status is a bit skewed.

There is no doubt that players like Shea Weber, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist are elite. Whether you’re talking centers, defensemen, wings or goaltenders, there is a magic number of true elite players and those who fall into other categories. It is my opinion that this is not only a sliding scale on a yearly basis but based on position as well.

Perhaps the league’s elite goaltenders fall somewhere in the 7-10 range, whereas an elite defensemen could potentially be found anywhere from the 15-20 range depending on how the players were ordered and, of course, depending on who is doing the ranking.

The issue is that there is no way to truly draw a line between “elite” and “not elite”. The gray area leaves room for debate (which is fun) but also makes the term rather arbitrary. Continue reading