It had to be a tough decision for Rick Nash to hang up the skates and call it a career back in January.
Nash had last played for the Boston Bruins but opted not to sign a contract when he became an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
The winger had suffered a concussion at the end of March 2018 and missed the Bruins’ final 12 games of the season but he had finally returned for the playoffs and played in all 12 of the Bruins’ postseason games.
However in June, Nash didn’t field free agent offers while he continued his concussion recovery, despite contracts being on the table.
He made the rough choice to retire in January, but the Columbus Blue Jackets made what appears to be an easy decision on Thursday: general manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced that former captain Rick Nash has been named special assistant to the general manager.
Nash will assist the club's hockey operations department in a variety of areas, including player evaluations, prospect development and player recruitment.
"Rick is the most decorated player in Blue Jackets history and was one of the game's most respected players during a career that included multiple All-Star Games, Olympic and World Championship gold medals and a Stanley Cup Final appearance," said Kekalainen. "He cares deeply about the Blue Jackets and the city of Columbus and will be a great addition to our organization."
The 34-year-old spent his first nine NHL seasons with the Blue Jackets after the club selected him with the first overall pick at the 2002 NHL Draft and served as the club's captain from 2008-12. He is the franchise's all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points as he registered 289-258-547 and 568 penalty minutes in 674 games from 2002-12.
In 1,060 NHL games with the Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Bruins, Nash scored 437 goals and 805 points.
In the 2003-04 season, Nash shared the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal-scorer with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk when they each scored 41 goals.
Nash is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning in 2010 and 2014 with Team Canada.