DETROIT – Yet another player the Wings expressed interest in this offseason won’t be calling Hockeytown his home for the next few seasons.
On Monday, the Columbus Blue Jackets dealt disgruntled star forward Rick Nash to the New York Rangers for three players and a first-round draft pick.
“In the last month I’ve had a few conversations with Scott Howson and we did make an offer,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
And according to a source it was a “hell of an offer.”
Instead the Blue Jackets dealt Nash, who requested to be traded last January, to the Rangers in exchange for forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.
The Wings were one of the teams reportedly on Nash’s list that he would waive his no-movement clause, along with the Rangers, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Philadelphia and Boston.
Detroit’s offer generated zero conversation.
It’s not known what the Wings offered, but the source said it was “four pieces.”
Howson was looking for at least two proven NHL forwards in return for the six-time 30-goal scorer.
That’s a pretty steep asking price for any team, including the Wings, who would more than likely have to part with proven talent like Johan Franzen or Valtteri Filppula and perhaps even throw in an up-and-coming star like Darren Helm or Gustav Nyquist.
It seemed unlikely that Howson would want to deal Nash, who will make $7.8 million in each of the next six seasons, to a Central Division rival like Detroit and be stuck seeing the face of the Blue Jackets’ franchise so often during the regular season.
“I feel fine with how free agency has gone,” Holland said. “We went in with a game plan. We’re very happy with what happened on July 1.”
On July 1, the Wings signed forwards Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo and Damien Brunner, along with goalie Jonas Gustavsson.
Nash is the fourth player this offseason the Wings have made pitches for.
First, they pursued the top two unrestricted free agents on the market – defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise. They both got matching deals from Minnesota.
Then, they set their sights on restricted defenseman Shea Weber and were prepared to see if he’d sign an offer sheet. Weber signed an offer sheet with Philadelphia.
The next player the Wings, as well as a number of other teams, are waiting to see where he’ll choose to play next season is Shane Doan.
Doan, 35, has already met with the Rangers and Flyers over the weekend after attending the NHL labor talks in New York on Friday.
Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, did not respond to messages left Monday.
“As I look at our team today, we’re real excited about our goaltending. We’ve got a 27-year-old guy in Jimmy Howard, who has three years of NHL experience under his belt. We have a 28-year-old guy in Gustavsson that’s got a couple of years in Toronto in him. I believe as a goaltender your best years are probably from 27 and 28 years of age all the way up to 34, that’s when you’ve got your combination of skill and experience.
“As I look at our team upfront we’re happy with the addition of Tootoo and Samuelsson,” Holland added. “If (Gustav) Nyquist was on any other NHL team in the league they’d give him a chance. We’re going to give him a chance.”
The one thing Holland will add before the start of the season is another defenseman.
“We made a decision to target some high profile players, we pursued them and unfortunately we weren’t able to make it happen,” Holland said. “There were circumstances involved. We’re going to continue going forward drafting, developing and expecting to be a playoff team. We’ve got to give some young kids an opportunity.
“We’re going to explore, either through trade or free agency, making a move or two between now and training camp,” Holland continued. “We’re going to see over the next six weeks if we can make something else happen.”