Glen Sather won the battle of the minds. Translated: Slats hit the Red Light Jackpot.
For months it had become apparent that Columbus had to unload Rick Nash.
Plus, everyone and his third-cousin-twice-removed knew that the Rangers were pursuing the big fellow with the potent shot.
The obstacle for months was purchase price; or, to put it another way, how much Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson would demand in return. Week after week, Howson had his sights on Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan. Who could blame him?
But here’s how Sather held the trump card. Howson knew that Nash desperately wanted to leave Ohio for a team that had a chance to contend. Keeping Rick for another season would have been tantamount to owning a disgruntled player in the lineup — sound like Jeff Carter? — and the Jackets simply couldn’t afford that.
One of Howson’s best pals told me a couple of weeks ago that Columbus was demanding three forwards; the Jackets had to compensate for losing their super-howitzer and only top NHL forwards would fill his bill.
What Scotty settled for was considerably less than that with all due respect to the Rangers en route to Ohio. Brandon Dubinsky was coming off a gosh-awful season with no guarantee that he’ll mature into the 30-goal scorer so many of us had thought he would be no less than a year ago.
Yet several NHL savants believed that the best of Dubie had come and gone.
Perhaps ominously — or meaningfully — The Hockey News 2011-2012 Pre-Season Annual singled out Dubinsky as a player who will be “Falling.” The X-ray added the following negative note about Dubie, “It’s unclear where he fits in the top six and the power play.”
Brandon’s disappointing play underlines the point and the arithmetic says it all. A year earlier he played in 77 games and produced 24-30-54 points. The 24 red lights suggested that the best was yet to come.
It was not. During 2011-2012, Dubie played another 77 games and emerged with 10–24-34. The drop of 14 goals and 20 points was beyond alarming.
Meanwhile Artem Anisimov has been a perplexing case of genius not willing out or — as we say in Brooklyn — “The potential he’s got; the results he’s not!”
Let’s face it, the Rapid Russian displayed talent but, simultaneously, betrayed his assets with maddening inconsistency.
Losing Tim Erixon is no big deal because the Blueshirts are loaded with top, young blueliners –Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, et. al. — and if strongman Michael Sauer recovers from his ailment and returns to the lineup John Tortorella will have a surplus of blueliners. Erixon was a work in progress last season and the fact that he needed more work was evident since most of his vocational time was spent in Hartford not Manhattan. Plus, the Blueshirts also received 21-year old defenseman Steven Delisle in the deal and a conditional third round draft pick.
Looking for the decisive denominator in this blockbuster exchange, The Maven harks back to a Sather observation of recent vintage: “What we really don’t want to do is dismantle the core of the organization. We’ve got a lot of good, young kids, and we want to let them grow and develop.”
The core remains untouched — intact.
Thus, Howson was unable to get his hands on the very-desirable Kreider nor Stepan; not evenMichael Del Zotto whose return next season made Erixon eminently tradeable.
As for the lost first round Draft pick; it’s not even an issue in terms of getting the Big Guy.
Nash will make the New York power play a POWER PLAY, adding to the riches of Brad Richardsnot to mention what should be a healthy return of Marian Gaborik.
With Zach Parise moving West and Nash coming East, the Rangers have hit the pot of GOAL!