When the New York Rangers made a play for Rick Nash, fans knew they were getting one of the best players in hockey. Despite being largely overlooked in Columbus due to his team’s lack of success, he is now thrown in the spotlight as one of the best players on a team in hockey’s biggest market.
Many feel that Nash could be that missing piece for the Rangers as they make a run at a Stanley Cup championship. This shortened season definitely makes things a bit different, but early on, Nash has meshed nicely with his team. So what are the keys for the Rangers when it comes to Nash?
For starters, any NHL team can use more scoring. Nash has been a solid scorer for years, notching 290 career goals and 259 assists as the main weapon for the Blue Jackets. While that type of production is probably not needed on a much better Rangers team, he will still be asked to bring his level of experience to help anchor an already solid offense.
Where Nash really thrives though is during both power plays and penalty killing opportunities. Many matches hinge on these crucial minutes, and few players are as good in both of these situations. The majority of star players excel in either one or the other, but the Rangers, and those who own him in fantasy hockey can feel comfortable with him on the ice at either point in the game.
New York was a solid offensive team, but they were near the bottom of the NHL in power play scoring. They need Nash’s help here more, although his penalty killing can certainly make the Rangers possibly the best team in the league in that category.
The Rangers were the best team in the Eastern Conference a year ago, but with no Stanley Cup to their name, it was a disappointing ending to the year. Nash brings skill and leadership qualities to an already stacked team looking to take advantage of the short season to make a strong playoff push.