Here we go again with the Rick Nash to the Toronto Maple Leafs rumor. It made the rounds two weeks ago but there seemed no substance. As of Feb. 14 however, there either is substance or too much has been read into comments Nash made to a Columbus paper.
“The last couple of weeks there have been so many rumours and when a team loses, more rumours keep on surfacing," Nash recently told the Columbus Post-Dispatch. "That’s what it seems to be right now, is just rumours. I’m a Blue Jacket right now. I’ve played my whole career here and it’s a special place to me. So as of right now I’m a Blue Jacket.”
It is not unusual to hear a player in pro sports say "as of right now I am a so and so" just before becoming a former so and so. After all, especially given he has a no-trade clause you'd think he might have said unequivocally that he intends to remain a Columbus Blue Jacket. That's what you'd expect him to say - unless, of course, he wants to get traded.
Maples Leafs and Rick Nash
The Canadian 2010 Olympic gold medalist is from Brampton and grew up watching the Maple Leafs and while he has a no-trade contract, after eight years in the NHL and one playoff round, and no playoff wins, he's surely ready to go anywhere that has a possibility of post-season play. But why are rumours floating around that the Maple Leafs could be his destination?
Probably for no more reason than he's an Ontario boy, that and NHL insiders keep saying it's so. Two weeks ago, former Leafs Asst. GM and AM 640 analyst Bill Watters was speculating on what GM Brian Burke would have to give up to get Nash (a package, he said, that would likely include soon-to-be UFA Mikhail Grabovski) and that seemed to get things going.
Rick Nash: No playoff wins
In other words there is not a great deal of substance to rumours the Leafs are working a deal for Nash. But on the side of Nash leaving Columbus? Firstly, it makes sense given he's 27 and not much closer to the playoffs than you and I. Secondly, multiple publications are saying multiple sources are saying Columbus GM Scott Howson has let it be known that Nash is available. And finally, hockey analyst extraordinaire Bob McKenzie says yes, his name is out there. And McKenzie tweeted that it is Nash who's in control of the whole thing.
“In a nutshell, "right team" for Nash is whichever one he decides is right. No Movement Clause. One guy driving bus here, one guy only: Nash,” McKenzie wrote.
With the Feb. 27 trade deadline looming and no substantial confirmation a trade is even in the talking stages, Leafs fans will have to be content with the team they have and the hope this time they won't go into a tailspin. And Nash will have to keep to his long summer golf plans. That is unless Brian Burke is listening to the rumors and thinking 'hey, maybe that's a good idea.'
Or unless, of course, the rumours are true.