The price for Rick Nash?

As the NHL trade deadline passed yesterday, Columbus GM Scott Howson sat before the media and explained the reason he held on to star winger Rick Nash -- despite a trade request from Nash -- was because no team met Howson's high asking price. What we didn't know was how high that price really was. Tuesday, the New York Post's Larry Brooks gave us an indication by providing the details of what was believed to be the Rangers' final offer for Nash:

Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, J.T. Miller, Christian Thomas and a 2012 first-round draft pick.

Now that's just one version we've heard and there have been other packages discussed as well throughout the process. Whatever the actual final package was, we're left with two questions: Would the Rangers really up the ante this summer? And what's the right price to pay for Nash?

Perhaps Rangers GM Glen Sather would be less reluctant to tinker with the NHL roster if the Rangers fall short of the Stanley Cup this spring. And perhaps the potential acquisition of a free agent defenseman like the Predators' Ryan Suter could make one of the Rangers' current Top 4 D expendable. That said, just as the Blue Jackets could have more trading partners at the June draft and beyond, the Rangers will likewise have more options to add to their offense.

The Devils' Zach Parise headlines what figures to be a decent crop of free agent forwards this summer. And there's no reason the Rangers must add a star of Parise's or Nash's caliber. They could seek a more affordable alternative and see how top forward prospect Chris Kreider shows in the fall. If the Rangers see more desirable options this summer, options that weren't available to them at the trade deadline, they'd likely see no reason to pay Howson's premium asking price.

So what's the right price to pay? There's plenty of time to speculate, so we'll let the fans have the first crack in the comments.