Rick Nash, the talented goal scorer from the Columbus Blue Jackets, is the top player available at the NHL trade deadline. With the Rangers rumored to be interested in the young winger, is he the final piece to the Rangers’ Stanley Cup puzzle?

What the Rangers would get…

Rick Nash, the 27-year old captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. As the #1 pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Nash broke through in his 2nd season with 41 goals. He has gone on to average 33.5 goals per season since, and has 18 already this year.

Ideally, the Rangers need to add another pure goal scorer who can spice up their woeful power play. Nash is that player. Imagine the potency of a power play with Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, and Rick Nash as a forward line. This dream unit would be an impossible matchup for penalty killers come playoff time.

However, Nash does bring with him a hefty price tag, figuratively and literally…

What the Rangers would give up…

The asking price for Nash is going to be very high. The Blue Jackets will likely ask interested teams for a young roster player, a prospect, and a 1st round draft pick.

Rumor has it that the Rangers would need to part ways with Brandon Dubinsky, top prospect Chris Kreider, and their 1st round pick.

While Brandon Dubinsky scored 24 goals last year, this year, he has developed into a gritty defensive center playing mainly on the Rangers checking line. Dubinsky’s stats pale in comparison to Nash’s, but he brings a lot of intangibles to the table for the Rangers and parting ways with Dubinsky could alter the team’s current chemistry.

The Rangers have many promising prospects in their system right now, Chris Kreider is the cream of that crop. At 6’3” 225lbs, Kreider is a stud. He is in his junior season at Boston College (ranked #3 in the nation) and is showing why he was the 19th overall pick in 2009. With 19 goals and 16 assists in 30 games, Kreider leads the Eagles in scoring. A player like this can really make a difference in the future for the Rangers and trading him will be a difficult decision.

In addition to the players the Rangers will have to give up, the literal price tag for Nash is also high. Nash is currently in the second year of an 8-year, $64 million contract. With the large contracts of Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards already on the books, Nash will bring about salary cap issues for the Rangers.

What should the Rangers do?

This is a tough question.

On one hand you can bring in a young, proven talent in the form of Nash to help with a Stanley Cup run. On the other hand you give up a team leader, a future talent, and a 1st round pick in doing so. It’s a toss up.

Nash is certainly the caliber of player worth taking a risk on, but the Rangers continue to hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Some would ask: why mess with a good thing?

So, will Glen Sather and the Rangers brass pull the trigger on the deal? We will find out soon enough, the NHL trade deadline is February 27th.