For the second-straight year, Rangers general manager Glen Sather was presented with a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for a superlative talent. For the second-straight year, Sather passed on a deal that potentially could have helped his team in the short term but may have damaged its future.
Brandon Dubinsky will remain a New York Ranger for the rest of the 2011-12 season as Sather and Columbus GM Scott Howson could not agree on the terms of a much-rumored mega-deal that would have brought Rick Nash to Broadway.
“I know this team wants me and I know how much I want to be here,” Dubinsky said after the Rangers’ early skate at the Garden Monday morning. “I’m pretty confident that at 3:01 p.m. Eastern Standard Time I will be a New York Ranger.”
Dubinsky’s name had been linked with Nash’s since the proposed deal became public knowledge. By his own admission, Dubinsky has not performed at the level he and the organization thought he would coming into this season. The winger has only scored six goals and 25 points in 57 games.
“I’m not going to get down on myself. I have a 21-game season ahead of me. It’s an opportunity for me to step up,” Dubinsky said. “Look, our team is in first place and for me not to have had the year I wanted to have says a lot about this team.
“When I do get my game back of where I’m capable of being at a consistent basis, I think this team will be more dangerous. It’s a challenge for me. I will go into the last part of the season and the playoffs with a chip on my shoulder and something to prove.”
That a trade was not consummated means Le Affaire De Nash will recommence this summer. Nash’s agent, Joe Resnick, told TSN’s Bob McKenzie Saturday that he and his client are “hopeful a deal can get done prior to the deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets. However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date.”
It is believed that Philadelphia, Toronto, San Jose and Los Angeles, along with the Rangers, are the five teams that Nash would accept a trade to. According to industry website Capgeek.com, Nash has both a no-movement clause (through the 2015 season) and a no-trade clause (2015-16 through 2017-18 season) in his contract.
It remains to be seen what Howson could extract from a partner by trading Columbus’ franchise player. Howson has reportedly demanded a young NHL player, prospects and draft picks in any deal for Nash. However, with Zach Parise and Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter unrestricted free agents and Suter’s partner, Shea Weber, a restricted free agent, a GM could determine that it is more cost effective to spend in the free agent market than to part with NHL players, high-end prospects and picks.
Last year, the Rangers were in a similar position on the day of the trade deadline, deciding whether to make a move for Dallas star Brad Richards. They passed on making a trade, but Richards was a free agent at year's end and signed him in the offseason.
The Rangers did make a minor deal, acquiring defenseman John Scott from Chicago for a fifth-round pick. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott has played in 140 games for Minnesota and Chicago spanning four seasons and has recorded 231 penalty minutes. He has 48 penalty minutes in 29 games with the Blackhawks this year.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.