Before I begin, a disclaimer of sorts. This post is made up of a combination of speculation, rumours and fact. I have tried to differentiate which is which but it should give you an idea why I posted about Rick Nash so frequently this summer.
The Sens interest in Nash began in the weeks leading up to the Draft.
Murray let it be known he was looking to add a top six forward and Nash obviously fit the bill. Ottawa had actually shown some preliminary interest in Nash at last year’s trade deadline but the price was far too high.
Just how serious negotiations got with the Scott Howson and the Jackets seemed to vary depending on who was reporting. The fact that the Sens were so serious in their pursuit seemed to catch most experts off guard, particularly because they were not one of the teams on Nash’s preferred destination list.
But based on what I heard, a deal between Columbus and Ottawa was extremely close. In fact, there were some contacts suggesting that the framework of a deal between the two sides was 100% done. The names involved never really surfaced but it was believed to include some combination of Zibanejad, Lehner and Foligno. So while other media outlets continued to suggest that the Senators weren’t serious players, I maintained that there was a very real interest.
The Sens obviously wanted Nash, but did Nash want Ottawa?
Again, the answer to that question varies depending on who you talk to. One thing we know for certain is that the Sens were not on his initial list. But as the saga dragged on, there was a sense that Nash was at least willing to consider additional teams. And for the Senators to be as involved as they were, you would assume they had some indication Nash would at least consider a move to the Nation’s Capital.
The Sens brass were adamant about not wanting to “convince” a player to play here but there may have been some of that going on. I had people telling me that the likes of Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson had been asked to speak with Nash to sell him on Ottawa. There were also rumours that Nash was never really the one that needed convincing and that it was his wife that was unsure about a move to Ottawa.
Understandably, it looked like Nash was waiting for one of the teams on his preferred destination list to step up and make an offer Howson couldn’t refuse.
By the time July 1 rolled around the Senators organization decided they had grown tired of waiting. They dealt Nick Foligno for Marc Methot, players that I assume were discussed in the larger Nash deal and began moving forward. But even after the secondary deal with Columbus was complete, the door was never really completely closed on Rick Nash.
With the framework in place, the belief is a deal would have been completed quite quickly with the go ahead from the Nash Camp.
Obviously all this is irrelevant as Glen Sather stepped up his offer and Nash is now a member of the New York Rangers.
The fact that the Senators were so heavily involved with the Rick Nash Saga leads me to believe they must have other “irons in the fire” on the top six forward front but everything seems quiet right now.