Welcome to the newest edition of “Point/Counterpoint,” where a pair of Flyers Faithful scribes present both sides of one particular issue with their own unique view and flair.
This week Marcello D and Kim Q debate whether the Flyers should trade for Rick Nash.
Point: The Flyers should trade for Nash
By Marcello D
Throughout the 2011-12 season, the Flyers fell short to the New York Rangers in each of their six match-ups, including a 2-0 shutout in November that started the season series. The team simply could not break through New York’s impermeable defense.
The reason why is simple. The roster lacked a bull-in-a-china-shop power forward.
Sure, his cap hit of $7.8 million (sixth highest in the NHL) is incredibly high. Sure, James van Riemsdyk could bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign and turn into the player that dominated the Boston Bruins in the 2011 playoffs and resulted in a lofty contract extension. Sure, it would be disappointing to tie up so much cap space in one player that it would prevent the Flyers from re-signing a guy like Jaromir Jagr.
Ask yourself this, though: is it worth it to lose out on a chance to acquire Rick Nash just to keep Jagr around for one more year and to hope JvR lives up to his potential?
Think about it. Nash is the kind of player who commands attention, not just from highlight reels, but from teams’ top defensive pairings and top defensive forwards. He’s a magnet that could attract multiple players from the opposing team, which would open up a ton of space for Claude Giroux to leave the goalie’s head spinning.
But Nash does not get overwhelmed by the opposition. He can break free from opponents and be ready to accept some stellar passes from Giroux and deposit the puck in the back of the net.
He could fill a role the Flyers have been missing for a long time and, though he might come at a lofty price, he will soon win fans over with dominant play that elicit memories of John LeClair and Eric Lindros.
The main problem is that Nash is not a franchise defenseman, which is what the Flyers really need.
To solve this problem, the Flyers must look ahead to the next offseason, when Kimmo Timonen’s $6.33 million cap hit comes off the books. That would open up plenty of space for the Flyers to make a play for a pending UFA like Tobias Enstrom, Alex Edler, or Ryan Whitney — and perhaps even re-sign Kimmo Timonen at a significantly reduced price, if he decides to continue playing in the NHL.
None of these players is cut from the same cloth as Shea Weber but I doubt many fans would cringe at the site of Enstrom quarterbacking the top power play unit while Nash wreaks havoc in front of the net.
He is out there, being dangled by the Blue Jackets, and the Flyers need to make a strong pitch for him. Or, the organization can sit back and watch as Nash, Brad Richards, and Marian Gaborik run roughshod over the Flyers for years to come.
Counterpoint: There are many reasons not to pick up Rick Nash
By Kim Q
1. Flyers need to improve on defense first. Barring a miracle, Chris Pronger is not coming back next season. Peter Laviolette is staying for the time being and unless he dramatically revamps his system, the Flyers main concerns should be their own blue line. They’ll need a game changer back there. Ilya Bryzgalov may be settled in next year, but my guess is, it won’t take long for his frustration at being left hung out to dry time and time again, to grow. From what I have seen of Bryzgalov, he lacks the mentality to flourish as the goalie that the Flyers need. In the current system, they need a hall of fame caliber goalie; a guy that not only keeps them in games, but steals them. Bryzgalov isn’t that guy. He’s a fine goalie, but he was clearly disgruntled with Laviolette’s decision to sit him for the winter classic and he didn’t respond to that in a way that inspires much.
2. It’s possible that the only reason Paul Holmgren really wants Nash is to keep him out of New York, Boston, or any other conference rival and I’m not sure that’s a good enough reason
3. Nash’s cap hit is $7.8 million/year. The Flyers would wind up “skimping” in other areas and that has never worked to their advantage. I’m not sure that what Nash brings will offset the cost in players or in the sacrifices they would have to make elsewhere.
4. Giving up on more young talent. Yeah, I’m bitter. If JvR was to be traded, he could have gone to Columbus for that #8 pick last offseason, thus preventing the implosion of the team. There’s nothing that irks me more than someone quitting. Holmgren has repeatedly signed players to contract extensions and then traded those players. Don’t ask your players not to give up, if you consistently give up on their teammates. Holmgren may be creating a stigma for this organization that may deter players from signing those long term, money saving deals. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Giroux, the proclaimed face of the franchise, only signed a three-year extension? I don’t. Smart move by Giroux.
5. Cost of Nash would likely be someone the flyers don’t want to move. Back at the trade deadline, one of the rumored packages for Nash would include one or more of JvR, Schenn, and/or Couturier, as well as a top 6 forward and Bobrovsky. Also, I could see the package including the exact type of young (and cheap) talent that the Flyers would have more of, if they were well stocked with and utilized their draft picks well. Players like Matt Read.
6. It’s obvious that the former New Hampshire forwars is burning a hole in Holmgren’s pocket and he will be moved at some point. Then again, he was rumored to be on his way to Toronto earlier this year. That trade was held up due to a concussion. I see a pattern developing here. This time, it’s his chronically ailing hip. He’s had hip, groin, abdominal issues for three years in a row now — shouldn’t this have been taken care of at some point earlier? The youngster will be moved sooner or later. I just hope it’s the right move for the betterment of the team.