The number of teams that are interested in acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets' captain Rick Nash has reached double digits, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported Friday morning.
Portzline wrote that NHL sources have told The Dispatch seven teams have engaged in "significant" trade conversations, while another three or four have "kicked the tires." The Blue Jackets and general manager Scott Howson have decided to rebuild, and Nash was reportedly made available before the February trade deadline.
Now that the postseason has ended, teams have begun in earnest again in their attempts to make a deal with the Blue Jackets for the best player in franchise history and one of the top power forwards in the League.
"Any return the Blue Jackets get will have to include help at Nash’s position of forward," Portzline wrote. "That doesn’t preclude a defenseman being in the mix, but losing Nash would gut an offense that has never scored enough goals even with him in the lineup."
The Blue Jackets began their makeover at the deadline, trading Jeff Carter to Los Angeles for defenseman Jack Johnson and a future first-round pick, which is likely to be in 2013 because the Kings won the Stanley Cup so the pick would be No. 30 next week at the 2012 NHL Draft. Columbus can choose to take the No. 30 pick or wait for 2013.
Columbus also traded Antoine Vermette to Phoenix and Sammy Pahlsson to Vancouver before the deadline, but Nash remains Howson's most valuable asset and a potential deal is likely to dominate NHL headlines until one gets completed.