Rick Nash is rewarding the Rangers for their ‘confidence to bring me back’
It’s still early. But Rick Nash seems to be enjoying a resurgence with the New York Rangers, following a difficult 2015-16 campaign that saw him score a single-season career-low 15 goals.
That’s a long way off his 42 goals (his single-season career best) and 69 points from just the previous season.
An injury played a part in his reduced scoring, with a bone bruise limiting his season to just 60 games. When the end came for the Rangers with a first-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh, trade speculation around Nash began.
Here we are, at the end of October, and obviously no move ever occurred for the 32-year-old forward with a $7.8 million cap hit. But an off-season trade was a possibility Nash was fully aware of, especially since his production dipped dramatically.
“And I know that if you’re an expensive player, you have to perform. If you don’t, you could be moved. I knew that. And I appreciate the fact that they didn’t trade me and had the confidence to bring me back,” Nash told the New York Post.
It could turn out to be a very smart decision for the Rangers.
Nash has enjoyed a nice start to the season, with four goals and seven points in nine games. He has also been put on a line with Derek Stepan and college free agent signing Jimmy Vesey.
The latter is tied for the team lead in goals with five. Stepan is still looking for his first, but he’s chipped in with five assists.
Scoring hasn’t been an issue for the Rangers. And it hasn’t been restricted to players like Nash and Vesey.
So far, the Rangers are tied for the league lead in goals for with 35, a balanced attack helping to put them alongside the Flyers at the top of that category.
Seven different players on the Rangers have scored three or more goals through nine games. And that’s not including Mika Zibanejad or Kevin Hayes, who have two goals each but have been productive, with eight and six points, respectively.
The Rangers should get an added boost with the expected return of Chris Kreider to the lineup.
Kreider was off to an excellent start, with three goals and seven points in five games. But he hasn’t played since Oct. 22 due to a neck injury.
The Rangers host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Kreider is expected to play.
“You want to play obviously,” Kreider told NHL.com. “But it’s very encouraging to see how well the team is doing. Clicking on a lot of different levels, playing the way we want to play. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Try to come in and now screw that up.”