Howson says Jackets looking for NHL-ready forwards for Nash Staff

7/13/2012 8:26:48 PM

Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is looking to acquire a couple of NHL-ready forwards in any deal for forward Rick Nash.

Speaking with TSN's Gino Reda on Friday's edition of That's Hockey, Howson talked about what it would take for him to pull the trigger on a deal for his captain.

"If we do complete a trade, we're trading out a 30 to 40 goal scorer," said Howson. "Defence is probably the strongest part of our team if we look at it today, so we're looking to get some NHL forwards back first and foremost."

Howson also indicated that he will continue to be patient and is comfortable holding on to the nine-year NHL veteran for as long as it takes.

"We don't have a deadline," said Howson. "Rick's under contract and we'll continue to work at this…and we'll hope we get a resolution to this."

Howson is comfortable with the price tag he has placed on Nash and won't trade his star forward unless he gets fair offer back.

"I have a value that I've placed on Rick and that our whole organization has placed on Rick," Howson said. "He's an elite player, he's been a tremendous ambassador for our franchise and our city and we're very comfortable with the value we've placed on him and until we get that value, we're going to keep working away at it."

Howson declined to comment on reports that the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks were the teams Nash has rumoured to waive his no-trade clause for.

He also shot down speculation that he has recently been in talks with the Los Angeles Kings for young goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

"I don't know where that report comes from," Howson said. "We spoke to a number of teams about goaltenders at the draft when we acquired Sergei Bobrovsky from Philadelphia, so I guess if they're talking about that then that would be accurate."

Nash is coming off his fifth straight season of scoring 30 or more goals. The 28-year old from Brampton, Ontario has tallied 289 goals and 547 points in nine NHL seasons.