Rick Nash in the Penguins plans?

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 26: Goaltender Brad Thiessen #39 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a pad save on a shot from Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period on February 26, 2012 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh defeated Columbus 4-2. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Silly season is in full swing with free agency set to start in a few days. The latest buzz/conjecture/whispers/rumors: that the Pittsburgh Penguins might be hot on the trail to make a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Rick Nash if the Pens are unable to sign Zach Parise.

From Elloitte Friedman's 30 thoughts:

Have always believed Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson's best opportunity to deal Rick Nash will be after Parise's decision. Think some other teams hoped their first-round picks would really appeal to Columbus, but that wasn't the case. My guess is that Nash and Bobby Ryan, if Anaheim wants to do it, get dealt after Parise signs. If Pittsburgh doesn't get Parise, Nash makes sense -- assuming it has what the Blue Jackets want.

Hard to see the Penguins as total players in this case- Columbus hasn't traded Nash because their asking price has been sky high. The most notorious hear-say being that the New York Rangers have offered an attractive package (said to perhaps include Brandon Dubinsky, Michael Del Zotto, draft picks) for the franchise player, but the Blue Jackets want Chris Krieder and NYR is unwilling to add that piece.

Other than Brandon Sutter (who Pittsburgh almost certainly won't deal) the Penguins don't have that many impact NHL level young forwards that a team like NYR could. Besides that, Nash is in his last 20's, has had declining stats in recent years and carries a huge cap hit for the forseeable future.

Personally, we here think if the Pens wanna get crazy and make a substantial trade offer for an impact winger, the better choice would be Bobby Ryan in Anaheim. He's younger and cheaper than Nash and the Ducks could certainly used some of the defenders (Simon Despres ? ) that Pittsburgh could build an offer around.

The rumors and whispers are in full effect this time of year, and the Pens are at the heart of it right now. No one's quite sure what the immediate future holds- other than a lot of "reports" flying around-- but one thing for sure is the Pens still have something to add before it's all said and done. Until then, brace yourself for whatever that may be.

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