Now that Henrik Zetterberg signed a twelve-year contract making him a Red Wing for life, attention is turning to Rick Nash. Rick Nash can start to negotiate a new contract with the Blue Jackets on July 1 and anxious people will be watching. With economic realities not being as favorable as they were last summer, many are predicting that Nash will be subject of a bidding war between Columbus and Toronto. A lot of locals are not taking Toronto seriously, but I think they need to step back and think.
Rick is from Brampton, Ontario about 28 miles (or 42 KM for my Canadian and academic readers) from Toronto. If you are a Canadian hockey player and not French-speaking, Toronto is the center of your universe. And if you don’t understand this, why do you believe that all Ohio high school football players want to and should play for OSU? Why do you accept that in Ohio, it is expected that everyone supports the Buckeyes, even if they attend schools like Ohio University , Kent State, or John Carroll?
So Rick Nash grew up in Maple Leafs Nation and understands it. He also sees Brian Burke, the Maple Leaf GM with a record of achievement, rebuilding the Toronto franchise into something that would make Maple Leafs Nation proud again. And the franchise is the richest, too.
I’m not saying that Nash is moving on, but I think the Blue Jackets better not take anything for granted. And as I’ve stated before, the Jackets always have to pay a premium price for players because of the Doug MacLean era of screw-ups and the lack of winning, although they are probably one and the same. So the premium will cancel out any Hometown Discount. Just don’t think that Nash wouldn’t mind being treated more like the Rock Star that he is by millions of Ontario residents. It’s nice to have the anonymity that Columbus offers him, but you saw how crazy things got when Mats Sundin couldn’t make a living at poker.
Keep your fingers crossed.