McKenzie: Nash can’t contemplate NHL options until healthy

Rick Nash remains on the sidelines of the NHL while he waits for concussion symptoms to subside, but he’ll most certainly have suitors if and when he’s able to and chooses to play again.

During a Wednesday morning First Up appearance on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Bob McKenzie was asked about the notion of the veteran winger perhaps ending up signing with the Leafs at some point.

“Well first off, I have no specific knowledge of any that,” indicated McKenzie. “Second of all, Rick Nash spoke to Aaron Portzline from The Athletic in Columbus yesterday and was talking about how right now, he still is experiencing symptoms from his concussion.

“He’s not in a position to play hockey right now, and he doesn’t know when or if he’ll be able to do that. He hopes that he’ll feel well enough at some point in the near future, that he could maybe return to the National Hockey League, but it’s not even on the docket right now. He can’t even contemplate any of that.

“So I don’t think there’s any flight of fancy in terms of ‘sign with the Marlies and do this.’ He’s got to get healthy, and that’s the first and foremost thing. He and his wife had their third child in the summer. He had plenty of options to sign multi-year deals for multi-millions of dollars in the summer, and chose not to do it because he knew that he wasn’t quite right from a medical point of view, and he continues to be that.

“We also know from his conversation with Aaron Portzline that he spoke to John Davidson, the president of the Blue Jackets, and Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager. He lives in Columbus. That may be first and foremost what his interest may be - if he’s able, at some point this season, to come back. But he mentions that there might be four or five other teams that he would look favorably on playing on.

“I can tell you this: Mike Babcock loves Rick Nash. Had him at the Olympics. Loves the way he plays and what have you. But for me it’s a non-starter as a discussion point because he’s not feeling well enough right now to contemplate a return to the game.

“And until that happens, it’s all just speculation and talk.”

Nash’s expiring eight-year contract counted came with a $7.8 million cap hit.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly