BLUE JACKETS RE-SIGN ALL-STAR RICK NASH TO FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT
First overall pick of 2002 Entry Draft was youngest goal scoring leader in NHL history in 2003-04
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Nash, 21, won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the NHL's goal scoring leader in 2003-04 when he tied Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla with 41 goals and added 16 assists for 57 points in 80 games. At age 19, he became the youngest player in NHL history to lead the league in goals and was the first teenager since 1987-88 (Edmonton's Jimmy Carson) to score 40 goals in a season. He also led the NHL in power play goals with 19, ranked 12th in game-winning goals with seven and appeared in his first All-Star Game.
In his first two NHL seasons, Nash collected 58-38-96 and 165 penalty minutes in 154 games, all before the age of 20. Only seven players in league history have scored more goals before their 20th birthday than Nash's 58 and his 41 goals in 2003-04 rank fifth-highest among teenagers in league annals.
"In my opinion, Rick Nash is the best young player in the world and I am thrilled for Rick, our organization and our fans that he is going to remain a Blue Jacket," said MacLean. "At 21 years of age, he has established himself as a true superstar in the game. He is a supremely talented player on the ice and a tremendous person off it. I believe our team is poised to take a major step and Rick is certainly going to play a significant role as our franchise continues to grow."
At the 2005 World Championships, Nash helped Team Canada capture the silver medal as he tallied 9-6-15, added eight penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of +7 in nine games. He led the tournament in goals, ranked second in points and was named to the All-Tournament Team. In 2004-05, Nash played in Switzerland and helped lead HC Davos to the league championship. He tallied 26-20-46 and 83 penalty minutes in 44 games, ranking second in the league in goals. In 15 playoff games, he notched 9-2-11 and 26 penalty minutes to rank third in playoff goals.
Nash was selected by Columbus with the first overall pick of the 2002 Entry Draft and made his NHL debut on opening night, Oct. 10, 2002, scoring a goal in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He was just the eighth No. 1 overall pick to score a goal in his first game and the first to do so in his draft year since Mario Lemieux in 1984. Nash went on to register 17-22-39 and 78 penalty minutes in 78 games that season. He tallied 2-1-3 at the Topps/NHL YoungStars Game during All-Star Weekend, was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's rookie of the year.
Prior to joining the Blue Jackets, Nash spent two seasons with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. He collected 63-75-138 and 144 penalty minutes in 112 career games, including 32-40-72 and 88 penalty minutes in 54 games in 2001-02. He also tallied 1-2-3 and two penalty minutes in seven games at the World Junior Championships that year, helping Canada win the silver medal. He was the OHL's Rookie of the Year and a member of the Canadian Hockey League's All-Rookie Team in 2000-01 after picking up 31-35-66 and 56 penalty minutes in 58 games with the Knights.
Tickets for Blue Jackets pre-season games go on sale this Friday, August 12, at 10 a.m., while regular season games go on sale Friday, September 16. Tickets may be purchased at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, the Blue Jackets Zones at Chiller Dublin, Chiller Easton and Chiller North, all Ticketmaster ticket centers, by phone at (614) 431-3600 or via the internet at www.BlueJackets.com and ticketmaster.com. For information on full season tickets starting as low as $13 per game, mini-season ticket plans or group tickets, call (800) NHL-COLS.
-- CBJ --