After months of back-and-forth negotiations, with plenty of stops and starts, the Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets finally consummated a trade involving Rick Nash coming to New York this past July 23rd. It is a day Rangers Assistant General Manager Jeff Gorton will always remember well.
"We had worked for months to get Rick here, so when it finally happened and the trade was agreed on, we were extremely excited," Gorton shared with BlueshirtsUnited.com recently. "Glen (Sather), Schoeny (Jim Schoenfeld), and I had worked so long with so many others on this deal, but the feeling at the end was not relief that it was finally done, it was just pure excitement that we had added Rick to our team."
Rangers head coach John Tortorella told BlueshirtsUnited.com that he had similar thoughts when the trade was finalized.
"I was just so excited to get a player in Nash that we think is just going to bust out and take it to the next level, which is really exciting considering he's already one of the great power forwards in this league," noted Tortorella.
Along with the excitement shared by Rangers coaches, management, and staff at acquiring Rick Nash, there was also a tinge of sadness in saying goodbye to a pair of popular players---Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov---and a top prospect---Tim Erixon.
"At the same time with all of that excitement of getting Rick and what it does for us moving forward you also realize that we let go some guys we really liked and were great guys in our organization," said Gorton. "It's tough to see those guys go, but to get a guy like Rick, then to meet him and get to know him, it just validated what we thought about him and why we made such a trade to get him."
Tortorella, of course, had a closer, more intense every-day relationship with the three players who were dealt to Columbus, in particular with Dubinsky, whom the coach worked hard at developing into a consistent, mature contributor to the Blueshirts.
"To get one of the top power forwards in the game we had to give up something, and it was not easy to part with Artie and Dubi and Timmy Erixon," explained the Rangers head coach. "I was very reluctant, and a little sad, to be losing Dubi---he and I had gone through a whole long process of learning about one another and trying to help one another---and Artie---a great kid, who, just like Dubi, is someone that went to war with us---and Timmy, who was a top prospect for us. But, again, to get a Rick Nash---and players like him just don't fall out of trees for you---we had to give up the talent that we did."
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