Rick Nash must prove his worth for the Rangers in the postseason
Before coming to the Blueshirts, Nash, as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, had five straight seasons of at least 30 goals and even put up 40 in the 2008-09 season. In total, there were only two seasons (2002-03 and 2006-07) in which Nash, 29, did not score at least 30 goals in his nine years in Columbus.
While Nash has not been terrible as a Ranger, he certainly has not been the offensive machine that he was with the Blue Jackets. Yes, Nash scored at least 20 goals in both of his seasons on Broadway, but he certainly did not score goals at the rate he used to do in Columbus.
With the playoffs upon us, this is something that Nash is going to need to change in a hurry. As the team's leading goal scorer in the regular season (26 goals), Nash must find a way to turn into the sniper and all-star that he was with the Blue Jackets.
For starters, Nash is going to need to go to the dirty areas to put the puck in the net. For much of his career, Nash has been a player that could score by coming down the wing, getting breakaways, being at the top of the circle, or even from the point.
Nash is known to be a perimeter play and while he has scored a ton of goals from those areas, it is difficult to score from the outside in the postseason. Defenses tighten up and shots from the outside are a lot harder to come by.
As such, Nash needs to be willing to stand in front of the net and look for rebounds, deflections or get open in the slot to one time a pass into the net. If he can do that, he might be able to get a bunch of goals this postseason.
Nash also needs to be a bit more selfish with the puck. For whatever reason, Nash has seemed to be looking to pass a lot more since joining the Blueshirts.
While that is not a bad thing, the team is paying him to put the puck in the net. Nash needs to get back to consistently shooting the puck because if he does that, the goals will come.
Lastly, Nash needs to play with the confidence that he used to play with in Columbus. As a member of the Blue Jackets, Nash always had that look in his eyes that he could put the puck in the net at any time and from anywhere on the ice.
It is this kind of confidence that can really help a player during hockey's most important time of the year. If Nash can get that confidence back, he will certainly be the Rangers' most dangerous offensive weapon in the playoffs.
Nash is a world class talent in this league. The Rangers need this world class talent to shine if they want to have a chance of going far in the playoffs.