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Tag:Jonathan Bernier
Posted on: February 22, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:04 pm
 

Nash Dash: How would Nash fit with Kings?

What Nash would look like in L.A. 

By Brian Stubits

In the days leading up to the trade deadline (Monday, Feb. 27) we're going to keep tabs on the biggest name on the block, Columbus Blue Jackets star and captain Rick Nash.

The list of teams rumored to be in on Nash isn't incredibly long and it's the usual suspects that you'd expect to be in on a big-name, high-priced star like Nash. His wish list -- put into song so wonderfully -- was supposedly five teams long with possible Wild cards in the mix too.

We're going to take a look at each of the rumored wish-list teams and how Nash would fit, looking today at the Los Angeles Kings.

There aren't a whole lot of certainties in this Rick Nash trade saga. Who's really on the list of teams he'd OK a trade too? Is that list exhaustive? Would anybody actually pay the Blue Jackets' asking price? They go on.

But if there is one thing that we can pretty much say without hesitation it's that no team involved in this conversation -- except for maybe the Blue Jackets themselves -- need Nash more than the Kings. It's been argued that nobody needs to get Nash more than Kings GM Dean Lombardi. His job literally could depend on it.

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The Kings are an embarrassment to offense. Sorry Kings fans to put it so bluntly, but with 2.07 goals per game that's something you already know. The Kings are in the process of letting an exceptional season from goaltender Jonathan Quick go to waste. If they could have given him just a little more offense this season -- I'll be kind and say about half-a-goal more per game, which would put them in the middle of the league -- he'd be firmly in the Vezina conversation.

But they aren't scoring that man. And it's starting to increase the heat in L.A. Before the season this was seen as a team ready to make that jump, possibly compete. By so far falling short of those expectations, Lombardi's leash is getting tight.

In spite of it all, the Kings are still in the playoff picture, holding the eighth spot in the West. The postseason has to be the goal at this point to hopefully try and keep the momentum going. That's why Nash has L.A. hockey fans salivating.

The great thing about possibly going to L.A. is that it would give Nash the centermen he was waiting so long for in Columbus. He finally got one in Jeff Carter this season but injuries didn't allow them to play together for very long before the trade talk started up. But in L.A. he'd have a couple of quality centers in Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards to play alongside.

From L.A.'s perspective the fit is great. It's not just that Nash is a scorer, but he plays on the left wing. The assumption would be he would join Kopitar and Dustin Brown on the No. 1 line which all of a sudden doesn't seem so bad.

But of course it's all easier said than done. Because as we've noted, the Blue Jackets want a lot for Nash, as they should. The package from L.A. to get a deal done has long been rumored to be Jack Johnson, Jonathan Bernier, probably another prospect and a high pick.

As the Nash world turns, the indications are getting stronger that L.A. is a less and less likely landing spot for Nash at this time. There are other options that might pop up like Ales Hemsky or possibly even some of the Sabres. So as nice as he might fit and go a long way toward solving L.A.'s scoring issues, the asking price might prove too much for even a desperate GM like Lombardi.

More from Eye on Hockey

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For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:24 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Nash reportedly down to five possible teams

Nash reportedly has a wish list of five teams. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Look what the Columbus Blue Jackets started. Now every few hours there is a new Rick Nash update after word leaked they'd consider trading their captain.

Then again, we can thank them for what they jump-started, too; the NHL trade deadline.

Nash is available at the right price ... for a couple of teams. Five to be exact. Because of his no-trade clause, the Jackets had to ask Nash for a list of team's he'd waive it for to approve a deal. Who's on it? Would he put any big-market teams on there considering he's seemed to enjoy playing in the smaller Columbus market?

Thanks to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch who has been all over this story like the league's discipline offices on Matt Cooke, we have the teams that are believed to be on the approved side.

Boston, Los Angeles, the Rangers, San Jose and Toronto are believed to be on the approved list for Nash — he would have to waive a no-movement clause in his contract before he could be traded — but the return the Blue Jackets seek could vary widely from club to club.

The Rangers and Kings have been the first two teams mentioned with Nash since the rumors began. So it's interesting they're on the list. The Maple Leafs are involved with every big name available in some capacity, so this will only stoke that fire. The Sharks have good friend Joe Thornton. And the Bruins? Well that'd just be unfair.

It goes without saying that this is just one small step for the man. There is still a giant leap or two to go.

It's going to take a lot to get Nash from the Blue Jackets. The good news for the suitors: there isn't really a position the Jackets couldn't use help at. A goalie will be at the front of all the talks, but they need defensemen and help scoring, particularly if they trade Nash and Jeff Carter. Plus, you can never really have enough scoring regardless.

Portzline speculated on what it would take to get the GM Scott Howson to trade Nash, looking specifically at the top two contenders.

The Blue Jackets are said to want at least one young roster player along with a combination of top prospects and quality draft picks. Using that criteria, the Rangers seem to make the most sense, and the New York Post reported on Tuesday that the two sides have had preliminary discussions.

The Rangers have a player the Blue Jackets have pursued for years in forward Brandon Dubinsky, but they’re also stocked with young defensemen — Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Tim Erixon, among others — and forward Chris Kreider, currently playing at Boston College.

The Blue Jackets play on Sunday at the Rangers.

Los Angeles could provide something the Rangers cannot — a top goaltending prospect. Jonathan Bernier, the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2005, has spent the past two seasons as the seldom-used backup to Jonathan Quick. However, the Kings don’t have young prospects to match the Rangers.

Well it sure sounds like a certain President's Trophy contender is in the cat bird's seat here, now doesn't it?

My concern about the Rangers trading for Nash -- aside from the heavy cost -- is the fit. Not that I would foresee any problems with Nash jelling with the Rangers, it's just being wary of messing with a good thing. Obviously the Rangers have that part down pat. They have the best points percentage in the league and are seven points up on everybody else in the East while no team has played fewer games than them.

No doubt adding a little more scoring would help the Rangers this season. If they have an Achilles' heel, it's probably still the offense. I'd just be leery of fixing something that's not broken.

More from Eye on Hockey

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For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 26, 2012 11:38 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 5:08 pm
 

What would all-Quebec team look like for Habs?

By Brian Stubits

Go back a few weeks when Randy Cunneyworth's "hiring" in Montreal was all the rage. Literally, rage. It led to organized protests against the Canadiens organization, not just Cunneyworth (although that was the impetus).

Those who didn't support Cunneyworth's hiring because he doesn't speak French were upset not only with the Cunneyworth promotion, but what they called the entire Anglicization of the Montreal Canadiens, Quebec's only team since the Nordiques became the Avalanche.

The list of complaints went beyond the coach not speaking French, however. Here is what the Canadian Press reported about the protests.

Protesters also complained the music played at the Bell Centre is in English, that announcements are in both languages and that the team has few francophone players.

I laughed when I first saw that. Would the people of Quebec rather have a team of Francophones that stink than a team of Anglophones that wins (of course they have neither right now)?

So that got me to thinking: What would an all French-speaking, Quebec-born team look like? I wanted to take a look and see how good of a team I could put together, keeping salary cap restraints in mind. (Hey folks, it's the All-Star break, just having some fun here.) Consider this my own All-Star fantasy draft.

Let's just get right to it, shall we?

Head coach

Alain Vigneault is the guy. The Quebec City native has actually tried coaching the Canadiens before, making the playoffs only once from 1997-2001. He was fired midseason in the 2000-01 campaign. But he's found success since moving on to Vancouver, winning the Jack Adams once and coming in as a finalist in 2011 (he was also a finalist in 2000 with the Habs). A return trip to Montreal will hopefully go better this time.

Goaltenders

Marc-Andre Fleury, Jean-Sebastien Giguere get the nod here. Now this is a position where I have a lot of choices. Fleury I think is a pretty clear starter based partly on his age, but for the second spot there are a lot of veterans: Giguere, Martin Brodeur, Jose Theodore, Martin Biron, Mathieu Garon and Jonathan Bernier. They can stop pucks in Quebec, that's pretty clear.

In terms of salary, Fleury takes up $5 million, Giguere only $1.25. So $6.25 million in goal is a decent price to pay, but not bad.

Robidas has spent time in Montreal already. (Getty Images)

Defensemen

I'm going with (in no particular pairing order) Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Francois Beauchemin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Stephane Robidas and Marc-Andre Gragnani. Letang leads the scoring punch while Bergeron, Beauchemin and to an extent Vlasic adding some more points. Defensively, Vlasic and Beauchemin highlight a pretty good two-way corps. But if anybody goes down, it gets thin after that.

As a whole, the defensemen don't cost that much. Beauchemin ($3.8 million), Letang ($3.5 million), Robidas ($3.3 million), Vlasic ($3.1 million), Bergeron ($1 million) and Gragnani (550,000) come in at a total of $15.25 million.

Center

Now this is a group of guys I like: Patrice Bergeron, Danny Briere, David Desharnais and Maxime Talbot. You'll notice one pretty big omission here and that's Vincent Lecavalier, but that $10 million per year is too big of a burden, I don't know how the Lightning do it. But I still have two guys who can score, arguably the best defensive center in the game, a young and promising player in Desharnais and a solid worker in Talbot.

Naturally this is costing me some cash here. Briere ($6.5 million) is costly, then add Bergeron ($5 million) before getting a little reprieve with Talbot ($1.75 million) and Desharnais ($850,000). In total, they take up $14.1 million.

Right wing

OK, I take it back about center. This is where my team is really loaded. Check out this lineup of Martin St. Louis, Jason Pominville, P.A. Parenteau and Alex Burrows. That's some serious scoring ability on the wing. I didn't have room for Maxim Lapierre or Pascal Dupuis at this position, but more on them later.

As you'd expect, this is the most expensive per-player corps on the team. St. Louis commands a cool $5.625 million, Pominville takes $5.3 million, Burrows costs $2 million and Parenteau a very reasonable $1.25 million. Total bill: $14.175 million.

Left wing

Here we have an Achilles' heel. The lineup we could toss out is Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Alex Tanguay, David Perron and Guillaume Latendresse, but that's an awfully risky group of players. Each of Bouchard, Perron and Latendresse have dealt with concussions while Tanguay has been suffering with a neck strain. So to add a little stability, I'm going to convert Dupuis to the left side and leave out Bouchard -- more expensive than Latendresse.

The good news is this group doesn't cost a whole lot. Tanguay ($3.5 million), Latendresse ($2.5 million), Perron ($2.15 million) and Dupuis ($1.5 million) run up a bill of $9.65 million.

Scratches

Since he didn't make the list at right wing, Lapierre is going to serve as our daily scratch. But really he's likely going to be playing a lot at left wing with the injury potential. What he also gives is a physical presence. He's at least not averse to dropping the gloves, having five fights this season for Vancouver. Maybe we could try and talk Georges Laraque to coming back and serving the enforcer role, but undoubtedly sitting in press row most nights.

Lapierre comes in at an even $1 million.

Overall

The total salary for this team checks in at $60.425 million, giving our GM (we'll just keep Pierre Gauthier) a little room to maneuver or sign maybe another defenseman that would likely sit in the press box most nights.

Moreover, the top prospect in the system would have to be Jonathan Huberdeau, the player who went third overall to Florida in the last NHL Draft. He's likely to be in the NHL next season and right now projects to be a center but he can also play on the wing, so he could help out with the weaker left side.

In the end, it's actually a much better team than I thought it could be. It might be a little lacking in the physical department, but the team has a lot of ingredients: It has some big-time scorers (seriously, a top two lines of Tanguay-Bergeron-St. Louis and Perron-Briere-Pominville isn't bad at all), it has some agitators (I'm looking at you, Burrows and Lapierre), is good defensively and I think it's solid in net.

And don't forget, everybody speaks French!

More from Eye on Hockey

Yes there were protesters in Montreal
Quebec group unhappy with Cunneyworth hire
Owner: Bilingual coach is important

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com