It is no secret that I tend to be less than forgiving when it comes to the sometimes lethargic play of Rick Nash.
At $7.5M/year (apGeek), Rick Nash is the 19th highest paid player in the NHL (sixth if we’re taking cap hit into consideration). For a guy who makes up more than 13% of a small market team’s total payroll, the fans deserve to see a better performance out of one of the league’s superstars. There is no doubt that Nash is one of the most talented and dominant players, evidenced by his dramatically different performance with Team Canada in the Olympics, but his level of effort is sometimes wavering and the Captain is prone to long periods of invisibility. For money similar to that of scoring machine Sidney Crosby and undoubtedly something close to what goal-per-game phenom Steven Stamkos will garner (or deserves) when his ELC is up in the summer, there is no excuse for a guy to take shifts/nights off.
After this past week’s WestCoastDomination and an unbelievable 6 goals in 3 games, Nash is now up to 12 of the team’s 53 goals, or 22.6% of the team’s total goal output. This is the Rick Nash the Blue Jackets expect and deserve. Not that he should be expected to score multiple goals on a nightly basis, but this is a guy who has proved he is easily capable of 0.5 goals/game in the past. With his recent outburst, he’s at 12g in 17gp – a much better, digestive pace if you disregard the sporadic pace prior to the trip. Hopefully it’s a sign that he has broken out of his daze and will continue to give the nightly effort everybody knows he is capable of. When he’s on, he’s on.
One thing I will always stick by: if you could put Derek Dorsett’s heart into Rick Nash’s body, you’d have the most dangerous player in the league.