Columbus captain Rick Nash is that organization’s cornerstone, but he could be traded before the Feb. 27 deadline. The Blue Jackets, the NHL’s worst team, are considering every angle for improvement.
The Bruins are one of the few teams with the primary piece Columbus general manager Scott Howson would want in return for his franchise player: a young ace goaltender.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, every player on the Blue Jackets roster is available. They are not necessarily shopping Nash but would listen to offers. That was not the case earlier in Nash’s career. Nash, 27, has a no-movement clause.
The Blue Jackets believed they had their ace goalie in Steve Mason, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2008-09. But the 23-year-old Mason has hit the skids big-time since his rookie season. This year, he is 6-20-2 with a 3.49 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage.
Tuukka Rask would fill Columbus’s need for a No. 1 goalie with his best years to come. The Blue Jackets would insist on another young impact player, and perhaps a pick, and they would inquire about Milan Lucic.
The Bruins would not consider such a trade. Tim Thomas has one year remaining on his contract and will be 38 April 15. Rask turns 25 March 10 and is entering the sweet spot of his career.
A more likely trading partner would be Vancouver. Marblehead native Cory Schneider would be Columbus’s target. The 25-year-old Schneider is 12-5-0 with a 2.27 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Roberto Luongo is 32, with more tread remaining on his tires than Thomas. Cody Hodgson also could be part of such a package.