Blue Jackets still fielding offers for Nash


PITTSBURGH -- Rick Nash is still a Columbus Blue Jacket.

Whether that statement remains true through the weekend is subject to change.

Jackets general manager Scott Howson met with reporters Thursday night on the eve of the NHL Draft to say that there was no movement from Nashs side on remaining a Blue Jacket or his side in dealing him elsewhere.

Howson did say, however, his options with Nash are better now than they were at the trade deadline last February.

Columbus is fielding offers from a number of NHL clubs for Nash, a 40-goal winger, including the Flyers, who continue to dabble in trade talks for several forwards, but appear no closer to solving their real problem -- strengthening the defense. The Rangers, Senators and Sharks are all reportedly eager to deal for Nash.

Howson and Nashs agent, Joe Resnick, met for about an hour in downtown Pittsburgh.

We exchanged some information, Howson said. I prefer to keep what was said quiet. I think that is the best way to operate. It was a good meeting. It lasted almost an hour and we exchanged a lot of ideas.

Are you close to accepting an offer?

Ahh, no, Howson replied.I think a lot of things can happen between now and when the draft is over. Im not counting on anything. Obviously, our goal is to do what is best for our hockey club.

Although Howson said the club was no closer to making a trade than it was at the trade deadline, he added the team was in better position now to strike a deal.

When asked how so, Howson replied, I think there is more legitimate possibilities out there right now.

Translation: better, more legit offers.

Asked what would happen if Nash werent dealt by this weekend, Howson said it was never discussed with Resnick.

Nash has six years left on his long-term deal with an outrageous 7.8 million salary cap hit.

The buzz around the draft today wasnt the prospects luncheon, but the fate of two forwards -- Nash and Anaheims Bobby Ryan.

What is interesting here is that a lot of hockey types -- writers, scouts, agents -- seem to be in agreement that the last thing the Flyers need is another all-world forward.

Yet the Flyer seem no closer to getting a big-name replacement for Chris Pronger, who may never play another NHL game because of post-concussion syndrome.

Anaheim GM Bob Murray did not have any formal update on Ryan.

Ryan, who has three years left on his Ducks deal with a 5.1 million cap hit, is a well-known and liked product of South Jersey.

He and his family are very good friends with Flyers senior vice-president Bob Clarke.

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