What to Expect from Rick Nash

Getty Images

Rick Nash is a New York Ranger that fans either support or criticize. Rarely will Nash receive the benefit of the doubt and rarely will he be praised for his value. Nevertheless, Rick Nash is a former superstar with a $7.8 million cap hit this season. A player getting paid that high is expected to produce more than 23 goals and 15 assists, and there really is no debating that.

Numbers and stat lines tell quite a bit about a player, but not the whole story. Stats are like SparkNotes; if you only read that and not the book, you’ll miss plenty of information. Rick Nash is, especially with Derek Stepan gone, the best overall TWO WAY forward the New York Rangers have.

What Rick Nash brings on the penalty kill and on the back check is so vital, that if he was getting paid $4.5-5 million, nobody would say a word. Is it fair? Well, it’s sports; and a player is valued at his pay and his value typically is statistic based.

Nash is still a top six forward and a leader for the team. Most importantly, Nash has grown as a hockey player during his time in New York. Playing on the penalty kill or battling for position in front of the net, is something that few players with a $7.8 million cap hit would be willing to do.

Before fans attack Nash’s stat line at the end of every season or blame every playoff failure on him; fans need to realize Nash is no longer a 40 goal scorer, he is a responsible two-way player that the Rangers would be worse without.

Getty Images


Honestly, somewhere down the road, there will be an injury. Nash has missed 15+ games in back to back seasons and he isn’t getting any younger. Let’s err on the side of caution and say that Nash will play roughly 65-70 games, that would mean a similar stat line in the 2017-18 season (around 20-25 G, 15-20 A, 40-45 P). Should he stay healthy, we could see an additional 10-15 points from the power forward. Either way, the statistical expectations are drastically lower than what he had when he was a top 10 forward in the league.

Nevertheless, Rick Nash is one of the players on the team that the stat line will tell one story, and the performance and value on the ice will tell another. There’s a reason Nash has the ‘A’ on his chest. He brings invaluable, non-measurable aspects to the ice every game.


  • He really does get a lot of slack from fans. The guy is always skating hard and does everything on the ice. It all comes down to his pay and the playoff series he didn’t score enough in. But he’s been much better the last few playoff series. I don’t think fans realize how many plays he starts that end up as goals for us. He does a great job on the PK. He also does a great job of back checking and stealing pucks away to turn into a scoring chance.

    • With u 100% the guy gets way to much shit from “fans” who either don’t know or don’t understand what Nash brings to this team –

      • He is supposed to be a prolicic goal scorer and clutchplayoff performer! He has never been clutch and his 30 plus goal scoring days are long gone! Why is he always defended by some fans because he back checks?? He is paid to be the number 1 goal scorer and eats up wat to much off the sslary cap !! If he were making millions less with at least 2 other prolific goal scorers doing the job he is supposed to be doing THEN he wold be an asset as a 2nd or 3rd liner .

  • The question is whether he is worth $7.8 Million per year.

  • Simply put, Nash is not worth the $7,800,000 he’s being paid and never has been. His best year as a Ranger was 14/15 when he scored 42 goals but 2/3’s the way thru, he got pummeled by Zach Bogosian, missed 2 games because of mysterious back spasms and has not scored at that rate since.

    Prior to that, Nash had 3 major concussions. The first one occurred overseas during the lockout. He came home early due to it. It was never discussed in depth and because it didn’t occur within the NHL season, it got pushed off to the side. No one ever mentions it. Then in 13/14 he had 3 more concussions – one when he took a cheapshot from Brad Stuart in San Jose (and while yes it was a cheapshot, there have been far worse suffered by others (re Chris Neil on Stepan) that didn’t result in the same number of games missed. A second concussion that year came from a combination of a Lucic elbow and a MacQuaid head slam into the glass.

    For a while after that, Nash removed from his game his signature driving to the net from way out move – a play that allowed him to use his size, speed and skill to drive around defenders and create fabulous scoring chances. It’s one huge reason why he scored a measly 3 PO goals that year (in 25 games!).

    He was petrified of getting another concussion so he adjusted his game so when he did have the puck in front of the net, it was standing still or at very low speeds. He made himself significantly less vulnerable.

    The following year, however, (14/15) that move came back and look at the result – lots of goals. Until Bogosian pummeled him. If you look at that play, it’s signature Nash. He carries the puck in over the Sabre blueline then accelerates driving around opponents and creating a fabulous scoring chance.

    I’ve not seen him do it since. Instead, when coming in on defenders when he often used to try to drive around them, he elects to shoot from way out.

    I guess it’s tough to really be upset with a guy who’s worried about brain disease when he’s 50 but that doesn’t mean if he’s not scoring he’s worth $7,800,000. That’s what he got that fat contract for and that’s why Sather acquired him – not to a fine 2-way winger.

    Oh well, next year, $7,800,000 comes off the cap and Gorton can use that sign John Taveras!

  • 7.8 mill is too much. All I’m saying is the guy catches a lot of slack and he’s had seasons that he would have had his 30+ goals but either got hurt or we had the strike. He also does everything else you could ask for. But I know if he’s not scoring 40 goals then he stinks. When you look at the goals scored in the games played that year you’ll see he was on pace for 30 just about every year. While it will be great to free up his salary he is gonna be missed wehther anyone believes it or not.

  • Also if he wasn’t worth the money even when he scored the 42 goals then Nashville fans must be real pissed off now that Johansan is signed for 8 mill a year for 8 years. I think he scored 14 goals last year and somewhere around that the year before. He did have one good year but I think that’s taking a chance going that high on the money n years

We would love your thoughts! Comment Please!