According to a Pro Hockey Talk report posted online Friday, July 6, there are six teams leading the pursuit for Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Detroit, Toronto and Tampa.
Noticeably absent from that list is the San Jose Sharks. That is because they have continued with their public fixation on Rick Nash, something counter to their goal of driving down the price to get him.
There is little doubt that Rick Nash is better. He has more size and puck-handling skills. And while Nash has had better linemates than many realize, they were certainly not what Ryan was blessed with.
But Ryan is the other two legs of the modern NHL stool that is valued in the salary cap eraâ"younger and cheaper. Nash is in no way worth half-again what Ryan is, who seems to be getting a more reasonable asking price from the Anaheim Ducks.
Perhaps the Sharks cannot pursue him because Anaheim does not want to trade in the division. But they traded with San Jose in 2009 to great success, and this time the Sharks are not looking to lock up the President's Trophy while the Ducks are trying to make the playoffs, putting them on a collision course for the first round.
As the Sharks wait, their options dry up and it plays right into Columbus general manager Scott Howson's hands. Thanks to bungling the press conference following an unsuccessful attempt to trade the Blue Jackets captain last February, he has no choice but to make a deal. But the higher his trading partner's urgency, the less leverage they will have.
The Sharks either need an upgrade at forward or their core will just get another year older and closer to their contracts expiring without any gain. Sure, San Jose could wait until the trade deadline to pull the trigger on a move, but that will not help them so long as they are intent on Nash.
The best thing the Sharks can do is be as public in pursuing someone else as they have been Nash. How much better when that player would be a better fit long-range for the team?