Lori Schmidt

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Nash Introduced to Columbus

Center Riley Nash described signing a free agent deal with the Blue Jackets as a business decision, one made after carefully reviewing recent NHL history and depth charts. 

"I'm obviously 29 now, so at this point in your career, after being in the playoffs for a couple years, you're not getting any younger, for sure," said Nash. "You want to go to a team that's in contention and trending in the right direction." 

That's not to say there wasn't a certain emotional allure to playing in Columbus, the city in which he heard his name called as the 21st pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL draft. 

"That was my first ever trip to Columbus, and it ended up being a good one. My parents were here, so I have a lot of good memories in this building," he told reporters gathered at Nationwide. 

He spent just under a week in the city at that time, enough that the area didn't still feel "foreign" (his word) when he returned, but not enough time that he hasn't needed help finding a home in the area. 

Riley Nash will wear #20 with the Blue Jackets.

For that, Nash turned to a former Boston teammate.

Rick Nash, after all, was very familiar with Columbus. 

"He's  a great guy, first and foremost," said Riley. "His wife was the one who  set [me and my girlfriend] up with a real estate agent. We enjoyed our  short time with them." 

There were, admittedly, benefits to  playing with Rick Nash, beyond his ability to provide a scouting report  on Columbus neighborhoods.  

Nash--Riley that is--said that a  number of sports apps were incapable of differentiating one R. Nash from  another, and it led to people believing that Nash--again Riley--was  scoring every other night. 

"You've got to know better than that," he joked. 

Truth  be told Riley Nash is not the scorer that Rick Nash was during his  tenure with the Jackets, but Riley Nash is coming off his best season, having  registered 15 goals. 

"I've always felt, in years past, that I  haven't quite beared down and put the puck in the net as much as I  should have," he said, pointing to his 13.3 shooting percentage in  2017-18. "I think that was one of the keys." 

However, Nash has already been off target once since signing his new deal. 

He received a text message welcoming him to his new club.

"It didn't have a name on it," Nash explained. "I wasn't going to ask if it was Torts." 

Without ever sending a "who dis?" text in response, he eventually figured out it was captain Nick Foligno. 

He laughs about it, but acknowledges that it's just another sign that he's in learning mode at the moment. 

"Just been able to get introduced to the franchise and the team, and meet people slowly, and get acclimatized." 

To hear more about how Nash is adjusting to his new surroundings, click below. 

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