Rick Nash traded to New York Rangers

One of the summer’s biggest trade targets is now off the market as the New York Rangers officially announced today that they have acquired forward Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In return for Nash, Columbus picked up forwards Brandon Dubinksy and Artem Anisimov, along with defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick in 2013.

“We’re happy to have a five-time All-Star on our team and a 40-goal scorer,” said New York general manager Glen Sather. “He will help us immensely.”

Nash, one of the premier power forwards in the league, has scored 30 or more goals seven times throughout his career – and has twice hit the 40-goal plateau.

“This changes the complexion of our team,” Sather said. “He is a world-class player. This kind of quality hockey player doesn’t come along very often.”

In exchange for Nash, the Rangers give up two promising young forwards in Dubinsky and Anisimov. Dubinski had a rough season this past year scoring only 10 goals and 24 assists, but this drop comes after two consecutive 20+ goal seasons. Anisimov tallied 16 goals last season with 20 assists, a slight drop from 18 goals and 26 assists the year before.

“This is difficult for people to accept when you trade what is arguably your best player,” said Columbus general manager Scott Howson. “We understand the fans (might find it) difficult to understand this or (be) upset with this. But this is something that we did because we think it’s going to better our hockey club. We got the right value for Rick.

“And it’s all about moving forward.”

The Rangers finished first overall in the Eastern Conference this past season, but fell short of the Stanley Cup Finals when they lost to the New Jersey Devils in six games. Adding Nash gives them more firepower on offense, something the team wanted to address in the offseason.

“They are already one of the top teams in the league. The players they have are pretty impressive,” Nash said. “In finding a team, I thought the Rangers were perfect. They are a great fit for my style.”

Plus, even with Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit, the Rangers still have roughly $13 million left in cap space to make more moves.

And the Rangers could use some of that space to sign Shane Doan.

The team evidently met with Doan and his agent last week while Doan was in New York. Doan also met with the Philadelphia Flyers and plans to meet with the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins as well.

Columbus fans will have to wait until the end of next season to welcome their former captain back when the Blue Jackets host the Rangers for the first time on April 5, 2013.

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