Riley Nash Looks To Make Impact With Blue Jackets

Photo by Tim McKinney/Cornell Athletic Communications
Photo by Tim McKinney/Cornell Athletic Communications

The following article was posted on www.unionandblue.com on Sunday, August 19 featuring former Cornell standout Riley Nash.

By Steven Kenworthy

As the bulk of Columbus Blue Jackets fans were in panic mode this summer over the potential movement of Artemi PanarinJarmo Kekalainen worked some quiet magic by signing center Riley Nash. Without carrying the flash and fanfare of a Tavares-like free agency, Nash’s value at his price tag could turn out to be one of the best bang-for-buck deals in the NHL.

The left-handed centerman comes to the CBJ after a two year stint with the Boston Bruins. Nash parlayed the momentum of a career-best season into a three year deal in Columbus. Scoring 41 points (15G, 26A), he moved up and down an injury-riddled Bruins roster, at times even slotting in with Boston’s top line.

It feels early to say, but Nash is almost guaranteed to start as the Columbus Blue Jackets third line center. I can’t resist but to acknowledge that Brandon Dubinsky ironically posted 41 points in his last season (2016-2017) playing the exact same role for the Jackets. This is coincidental at best, although it speaks to scoring indicators of a strong third line center.

Simply put, the team’s intentions for the lefty are too high for him to play lower than third. Subsequently, anyone who thinks Nash could slide ahead of number two centerman Alexander Wennberg doesn’t understand the Jackets long-term plan.

Before diving straight into his statistical profile, it makes sense to highlight some of #20’s premier qualities. For starters, CBJ faithful should feel a small sense of relief to know that Nash is a top notch penalty killer. With PK specialist Matt Calvert‘s departure, expect to see the new Blue Jacket on the first kill unit.

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