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Rick Nash signs 8yr extension, becomes Mr. Columbus

Last night word began to spread throughout the league that CBJ’s team captain Rick Nash had come to an agreement with the club on a 8 year contract extension. The reported deal was worth $62.4 million until the end of 2017-18 season with an annual cap hit of $7.8 million.

“Rick is a Blue Jacket. He is our captain, the foundation of our team and one of the elite players in the National Hockey League and we are very happy that he will continue to call Columbus home for many years to come,” said Howson. “This is an important and exciting day for our franchise and our fans.”

The contract breaks down as follows

2010-2011 – $7.5M
2011-2012 – $7.6M
2012-2013 – $7.7M
2013-2014 – $7.8M
2014-2015 – $7.9M
2015-2016 – $8.0M
2016-2017 – $8.1M
2017-2018 – $8.2M

A full no trade clause comes into effect for the first 5 seasons of the deal, followed by a limited trade clause for the remainder. Give Howson credit, Nash is only 25 years of age and this deal with end when he is 34 years of age. Unlike the 12 year deal that Chicago signed Hossa too, the team will not have to worry if Nash can still compete towards the end of his contract.

There were rumors that contract talks were breaking down and Nash was frustrated with the teams offer. This was most likely caused when the New York Rangers announced the signing of oft injured winger Marian Gaborik to a monster contract. Marian Gaborik received a five-year, $37.5 million contract from the New York Rangers that has an annual salary cap hit of $7.5 million. This probability did not help Howson’s cause but they stuck it out and got a deal done.

Would you rather build your team around Gaborik at $7.5 million a season? or Nash at $7.5 million?

My initial reaction to this deal was that no matter what number the Jackets were going to pay Nash, he had to stay with this club. Even if it came down to overpaying for him I would of be fine giving him 8 million + a season.  For what Nash means to this team, the city and the fans; every dollar would be well spent in my mind. Blue Jacket fans are going to see a player that was not only the clubs highest draft choice, franchise leader in goals and points but he has the opportunity to play his entire career in one city. This is something you do not see often in sports and for a talent of Nash’s nature, fans of Columbus should be excited. To put things into a perspective, the last player off the top of my head that spent his entire career on one team in the NHL was Steve Yzerman. We all know Yzerman is one of the most well respected individuals in the game, one of the leagues greatest leaders of all time and put his personal health on the line to help his team win.

Now Nash has a long way to go to reach the level Yzerman did but General Manager Howson is going to do all he can to help him reach that level. Howson has shown he can be an elite GM in this league. He has spent his money wisely in free agency, worked the draft board with ease and locked up the biggest player in club history. The Blue Jackets are on the verge of breaking through and will most likely catch many by surprise.

Since I have started this site, I have always said that Nash is not going anywhere. Rumors to Toronto or former GM MacLean catching on with a team to deliver Nash were crazy. Once again Leaf fans, not every player from the Toronto area wants to play for the Leafs! Since Nash is now off the market, you better start hoping for the next big player to sign with Toronto. Maybe try Kovalchuk? I heard his contract is expiring soon. Nash is a special player and will be a Blue Jacket for life, no matter what.

Also there is a great article at Light the Lamp showing off all clippings of Nash signing a contract. Check it out here.

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