"I was informed by management that there was a rebuild, a reshape of the team, and I personally felt I could be a huge part of that, toward bringing assets in… I think that was in my view that was the best thing for the team, the organization, and personally for my career." — Rick Nash
"I thought it was going to be a lot easier for the team to trade one guy than let go three guys. That's when I made the decision to go to Craig Patrick and told him it's going to be a lot easier for the organization if they trade me… Plus, there was no reason to keep me when Mario came back. I thought it was going to be good for the team." — Jaromir Jagr
Hopefully Craig Patrick can get more for Rick Nash in 2012 than he got for Jaromir Jagr in 2001.
It's always tough when a superstar asks to be traded. On one hand, you don't want to trade away a player who is the face of your team. On the other hand, you don't want to remain in a situation where your team captain no longer wants to stay with the organization.
In both Nash's situation now and Jagr's situation then, the player recognized that his team was struggling. Both players knew that their franchise wouldn't be able to spend enough money to be competitive and both players asked to be traded. They both said that they hoped their departure would make things better for their original team and help the organization prosper in the long run. Both players also (obviously) wanted what was best for their careers.
Jagr knew that the Penguins wouldn't be able to afford his salary and keep the Penguins competitive. Nash was apparently told that the Blue Jackets were once again planning to rebuild the team. Of course, it turned out that the Penguins couldn't afford to keep ANYONE, not just Jagr and… really, what are the Blue Jackets "rebuilding?" Have they ever really been "built" in the first place?
Both Nash and Jagr probably also assumed that it would be bad for their careers to remain with a struggling organization. Asking to be traded seemed like a good solution for both their teams and for their careers. But no matter how good it looks for both parties, it's still tough when you have to trade the face of your franchise.
The Penguins in 2001 were in a bad situation. The Blue Jackets are in a bad situation right now. When your team is struggling on the ice and/or financially and your superstar asks to be traded, all you can hope to do is receive a decent enough return that you can become competitive in the future. The Penguins received Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk for Jagr. Obviously none of those players came anywhere close to being much of anything in the NHL. Yesterday the Blue Jackets reportedly rejected the New York Rangers offer of Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, J.T. Miller, Christian Thomas and a 2012 first-round pick for Nash. The team obviously felt that they should receive more.
Jaromir Jagr was traded in the summer of 2001. Rick Nash may be traded in the summer of 2012. What will Scott Howson and Craig Patrick get for Nash if they make the deal? Will they even be the ones making the deal? And will Blue Jackets fans boo Rick Nash when he returns to Columbus as a member of another team? Will they still be booing him 11 years later? Or… will the team no longer play in Columbus?
Like the Penguins in 2001, a great deal of the Blue Jackets' future depends on this superstar deal. The Penguins ended up pulling out of it (thanks in large part to Mario Lemieux and stockpiling top draft picks) after struggling for many years. What will happen to the Blue Jackets?