Less than 24 hours after his general manager revealed that Rick Nash requested a trade, the Blue Jackets captain took the high road when he spoke to the media at Nationwide Arena in Columbus after the morning skate.
Nash, who was not traded prior to Monday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, confirmed that he asked to be traded because he was looking out for the best interests of both himself and the Blue Jackets. Columbus GM Scott Howson revealed the trade request in a press conference shortly after Monday's deadline passed.
He said he knew he could fetch the organization several important assets, including prospects and high draft picks, to help their rebuild. At the same time, Nash, who has a no-movement clause in his contract, offered the club a short list of teams he'd be willing to accept a trade to in order to compete for a Stanley Cup.
Nash did not reveal the teams on his list, but reportedly the Rangers were making a serious push to acquire him Monday.
"I was informed by management that there was a rebuild, a reshape of the team, and I personally felt I could be a huge part of that, toward bringing assets in," Nash said according to a transcript posted on the website of the Columbus Dispatch. "I think that was in my view that was the best thing for the team, the organization, and personally for my career."
Nash added that he isn't sure how he will be received by the fans in Columbus when he takes the ice Tuesday to play the Red Wings, but he will always appreciate them regardless. He has been with the Blue Jackets since he was drafted first overall in 2002 and has played all of his 654 career NHL games with Columbus.
"I've been with these fans my whole career here and I love them no matter what," Nash said. "They're a great fan base, loyal. They've been patient with this organization and this team, and no matter what the reception is I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for our fans."
Nash said he'd like to remain captain of the Blue Jackets, and that he spoke to his teammates Tuesday morning to explain his reasoning for requesting a trade. He said they support him and are standing behind him.
"I believe I'm the leader of this group right now," he said. "I think, no matter what, nothing has changed in my mind. I will still lead by example and go out there and do everything I can to win games for this city and for these fans."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl