Rick Nash to Have Jersey Retired by Columbus Blue Jackets

rick nash jersey
Spread the love

The Columbus Blue Jackets will retire a number for the first time on March 5th, 2022. Their opponent will be the Boston Bruins, with whom Rick Nash ended his NHL playing career back in 2018.

NHL free agent frenzy

Nick Foligno, the Blue Jackets’ captain before his trade in April, should be on the ice that night. The two missed each other in Columbus, with Nash moving out in the same offseason Foligno came in. Foligno sits third all-time in games played, goals, and assists for Columbus. Nash leads in all three categories despite just nine years with the team. In those nine seasons, Nash racked up 289 goals and 547 points in just 674 regular-season games. And 14 of those goals were short-handed to go with 83 on the power play. He really did do everything for them.

Current Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner is seventh in games played – 134 back – and can catch Nash in just a couple of seasons. Those scoring marks are more of a stretch…

Rick Nash Record Book

It was three years after entering the league before Columbus got their star, drafting fourth and then eighth overall in their first picks in 2000 and 2001. While expansion cousin Minnesota Wild struck gold twice with Marian Gaborik and Mikko Koivu, Columbus got decent-but-not-game-changing Rostislav Klesla and Pascal Leclaire. With the first overall selection in 2002, there was no mistake. In just his second season, he, Jarome Iginla, and Ilya Kovalchuk finished in a three-way tie for the Maurice Richard Trophy with 41 goals.

At 6’4″ and 211 pounds, Nash was an absolute beast. Add that to a simply unreasonable amount of skill and a determination to find the net and you have a player that fans paid to watch.

Over his NHL career, Rick Nash played 1060 regular-season games, scoring 437 goals and 805 points. This is more remarkable than it looks, given his first nine seasons were with a team that made the playoffs once. For his career, Nash has 89 playoff games with 18 goals and 46 points. Some could accuse him of not producing “when it mattered” – but those people would have to avoid his international play.

In Red and White

Any thought that his game wouldn’t transfer to the bigger ice neglected the skill that came with his size. In his three Olympic appearances, he played 19 games and scored just two goals and seven points on the fourth line. When he starred at the World’s, though? While other Canadians were fighting for the Stanley Cup, Nash took his frustrations out overseas. During his Columbus tenure, Nash played 34 games with Canada at the World Championship. In those four appearances, he scored 23 goals and 44 points.

His awards include two Olympic gold medals and a gold and two silvers at the World Championship.

In Retirement

After concussion issues forced his hand, Nash retired on January 11, 2019. He joined the Blue Jackets front office that June under the nebulous title “special assistant” to general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. That usually means “he’s popular with the fans and we need good PR” but even if that is the case, why not? He has always lived in Columbus, even when he played for the New York Rangers and Bruins. He loves the city, and that’s always a welcome addition.

There may have been some of the usual booing when he returned in different colours, but when he walks onto the ice in four months? When #61 is raised to the rafters, expect fans to raise the roof.