NHL Trade Deadline: Columbus GM Throws Rick Nash Under a Bus

 
on February 28 2012 11:48 AM
Columbus General Manager Scott Howson with 2010 first round pick Ryan Johansen.
Columbus General Manager Scott Howson with 2010 first round pick Ryan Johansen. REUTERS

Just when it appeared that Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson had made all of the dumb mistakes he could make in his five year tenure, he decided to throw his captain under the bus in a fit of pettiness.

After teams like the Rangers, Bruins and Kings all passed on Rick Nash due to an astronomical asking price (a price that was probably fair) Howson did the dumbest thing he has done since turning Jakub Voracek , a first round pick and a third round pick into Jack Johnson and a conditional first rounder via the Jeff Carter madness.

With respect to Rick Nash, he approached us and asked us to consider trading him, Howson said Monday afternoon. We agreed to accommodate his request as long as we could get a deal that would provide us with cornerstone pieces to help us to compete for a Stanley Cup championship in the coming years. It did not happen by 3 o'clock today. This is too important to our franchise and our fans to do a deal that is not in our best interests.

It has to be a fun time to be in the Columbus dressing room now; worst team in the NHL, franchise with so little success that few casual fans even remember it exists, and now the captain and only face the franchise has ever had wants out of town.

Howson said that he told the media about Nash's request because It's the right thing to do. It's the truthful thing to do.

No Mr. Howson, it is the petty thing to do.

Not to mention that in one fell swoop he alienated his captain, potentially alienated part of his team can identify with Nash's desire to leave rather than be part of another rebuilding project, and depressed the value he can get for Nash in the inevitable deal that will be struck before the deadline.

By telling the whole world that Nash wants out, Howson can't hope to keep his star beyond this offseason (or maybe he can hope ­- he hasn't shown that he understands much about building a team). How could that dressing room possibly go into next season with the leader of the room wanting out, how can they even finish the season?

Every GM in on the Nash sweepstakes now knows that he is disgruntled and that Columbus has to move him, so Howson has effectively cut himself off at the knees in what should have been trade negotiations where he had all the power.

Additionally, this kind of behavior makes the eventual rebuild almost impossible. Teams like Vancouver and Buffalo have spent millions of dollars in the past few years to upgrade their facilities to make them more attractive to potential free agents.

Columbus is a team in a non-traditional market with zero history of success (one playoff series, a loss in a sweep to Detroit in 2008 and one season over .500 in their 12 year history) they have now thrown their only known player under the bus on his way out of town at the end of another abysmal season where the team finished with the worst record in the Western Conference. Why on earth would fans or players want anything to do with them going forward?

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