Defending Rick Nash’s time on the New York Rangers by Sam Prevot

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Although the Washington Capitals kept their core together and finally broke through to win the Stanley Cup, just know that the New York Rangers’ core wouldn’t have been able to do the same thing.

Sports fans, especially New York sports fans, are some of the most passionate people on the planet. The problem with this is that sometimes the passion clouds your judgment. You develop biases that keep you from seeing the whole picture.

This has been happening lately on social media regarding the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals.

As you all know, the Washington Capitals just won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Some major pieces of the team’s current core have been with the franchise over the last 11 years, 10 of which have resulted in a playoff series. After losing in the first or second round in the nine appearances prior to this postseason, nobody knew when, if at all, they’d break through. Well, things finally went the right way for them for the first time in a decade. Alex Ovechkin has his Stanley Cup.

With the Capitals winning with their core that’s been in tact for all of these years, Rangers fans are wondering what would have happened if their team, one with 11 playoff appearances over the last 13 years, kept their core in tact. If they didn’t break them up at the trade deadline and added instead would they have had a chance to do something similar?

I got some bad news for you guys.

The Rangers core had their chance and blew it.

And they were never going to get back to the promised land together.

Why do I know this, you ask? Just look at the two team’s rosters.

The Capitals have one of the 10 greatest forwards of all time on their roster in Ovechkin. They also have All Stars Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, a solid defense headlined by John Carlson and a Vezina-winning goalie in Brayden Holtby.

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What did the Rangers have on their roster pre-deadline? A Vezina goalie in Henrik Lundqvist, sure, but no superstar skaters, a washed up (but still capable of being a middle-six forward) Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, a very good All Star caliber player, a defense in shambles and a few other players who perhaps have All Star potential.

The Rangers’ roster was no where close to competing with the league’s big guns this season. The Capitals’ roster was. That’s the difference.

There were no quick fixes to be made as the prospect pool — which was better than in years past — was still barren. We didn’t believe it when Larry Brooks wrote it, but he was right. Their run was over.

Now let’s all move on.

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