NHL Trade Rumors: Rick Nash Trade in the Works for Pens After Michalek Trade?

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IJune 23, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 8:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets takes a breather against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

As reported by TSN, Zbynek Michalek is back in Phoenix.

All the Coyotes had to give up for the defenseman was a third-round pick, and two lower to mid-level prospects in Marc Cheverie and Harrison Ruopp.

The 29-year-old defenseman was a big part of what turned the Coyotes from a perennial cellar-dweller to a legitimate, annual playoff contender. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins can now scratch four million dollars off their books with the Michalek move.

Next on the block? Former New Jersey Devil, Paul Martin.

After the Penguins addressed their defensive needs through yesterday's first round of the draft, Paul Martin is most assuredly on the trading block.

With a no-movement clause and a limited no-trade clause, Martin might be a hard sell for the Penguins after an abysmal 2011-12 season.

Pittsburgh's first-round loss to the Philadelphia Flyers hurt the trade value of every single Penguins defenseman, maybe none more than Martin.

However, one team that is in the midst of rebuilding their defense is the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After spending big money on James Wisniewski, trading for Jack Johnson and drafting top defensive prospect Ryan Murray, the Blue Jackets might be willing to give Martin a chance for a bounce-back year, rounding out a very decent top-four defense. 

If the Penguins would somehow be able to package Paul Martin with a group of future draft picks, prospects or perhaps an additional roster player, Pittsburgh would have more than enough money to take on Rick Nash's $7.8 million cap hit.

With Evgeni Malkin and James Neal forming great chemistry that resulted in a Hart Trophy for Malkin and nominations to the NHL's All-Star team for the pair, that leaves Sidney Crosby without a high scoring winger.

Reuniting Crosby and Nash, who were teammates at the 2010 Winter Olympics, might be just what the doctor ordered if the Penguins want to win another Stanley Cup.