Toronto Maple Leafs: Trading for Rick Nash intriguing but doesn’t fit plan

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Rick Nash /

A report surfaced on Monday night that the Toronto Maple Leafs are on Rick Nash‘s trade list, but does that mean he could be a target at the deadline?

Trade deadline rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs has been rather quiet lately, especially with many saying the team will likely stand pat.

The big discussion has centered around the team’s pending free agents James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov and their future with the team. Now a new rumour has surfaced, as TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that Rick Nash has the Leafs on his 12-team trade list he submitted to the New York Rangers.

In 56 games, the Brampton, Ont., native has 27 goals 10 assists and 27 points, which is not a typical season for him as he is usually good for 30 goals in a season.

The connection came from Larry Brooks’ article in the New York Post, where the winger talked about the teams he would accept a trade to:

"“I included the teams that I think have the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup and are also places I think would be good for my family,” said Nash. “And, yes, that does include teams in Canada. I’m not excluding that as a possibility.”"

The last line certainly grabbed the attention of hockey fans in Canada, especially because only three Canadian teams sit in a playoff position; the Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. Would any of these teams jump on the chance to acquire Nash if the Rangers came calling?

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As Seravalli notes in his article, Nash does not fit the profile as the type of player the Leafs need to trade for at the deadline. They have strong depth on the wing and there is no chance he would move to centre.

It would not hurt to see what the price would be to acquire the 33-year old as he does bring 77 games of playoff experience, including a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately for the Leafs the price will probably will be high, given the Rangers want to maximize their free agent assets.

Expect the Rangers to ask for a first round pick and a prospect in a deal for Nash. They have also been scouting the Leafs the past few games and will probably get calls from the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues.

Now what is hard to ignore, which Seravalli points out, is that there is a strong connection between Nash and the Leafs. He played for Mike Babcock at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics and was a strong two-way player for him. Nash also played for Mark Hunter with the London Knights.

If there are two people that could influence Lou Lamoriello to consider trading for Nash it is Babcock and Hunter, but the Leafs GM has repeatedly emphasized the Leafs would not deviate from the long-term plan.

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Giving up assets to acquire another winger would not benefit the Leafs at this point in the season even though Nash’s size, skating and two-way play would be useful for a contending team.