Blue Jackets forward turning heads

Updated: October 30, 2003, 3:13 PM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
At 19, Rick Nash is practically a boy playing with the men of the NHL. But watch the way he uses his size to muscle his way around opponents' nets and the second-year pro for the Columbus Jackets often looks like a man playing against boys.

"He's [more mature] than any 19-year-old that I've known," Blue Jackets enforcer Jody Shelley told The (Toronto) Globe and Mail. "I've got a brother that's 18, a great guy and mature, but Nash handles things unbelievably well. He's so much stronger and grittier this year. He's the real deal. He's going to be good, real good."

The 6-4, 209-pound left winger is already good as his 17 goals and 39 points in 74 games as a rookie proved while being a finalist for the Calder Trophy. If he keeps improving at his current pace he'll be great a lot sooner than anyone expected. He's added almost 20 pounds since he was drafted first overall in 2002 and has already shown an ability to dominate down low. With his size, reach and good shot, he should soon become one of the league's best power forwards.