Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has had the gavel for the Rick Nash auction for several weeks, hearing pitches from teams attempt to secure the star captain's services. He's had the high ground — demanding an extraordinary return for the Jackets' lone franchise player.
One could imagine every general manager that was told his deal for Nash was inferior turning around and kicking the tires on the Anaheim Ducks forward. According to Aaron Portzline of Puck-Rakers, Ryan's availability has complicated matters:
The waters have been muddied in recent days with the revelation that Anaheim is willing to part with forward Bobby Ryan. This does not help Howson's case at all, as Ryan and Nash are similar players, except that Ryan is younger (25 vs. 28) and cheaper ($5.1 million cap hit through 2014-15 vs. Nash's $7.8 million through 2017-18).
The asking price for Ryan is said to be lower than what the Blue Jackets are seeking for Nash, too. When another 30-goal scorer hits the market, the demand goes down.
So on top of Friday's NHL Draft — where teams will be selecting picks rather than sending them to the Blue Jackets for Nash — and the expected bidding war for free agent Zach Parise, Ryan's availability creates yet another distraction that could propel the Nash drama into July.
Then again, if someone wanted to meet Howson's price this week …