1 - It was always so easy to knock Heater off of the puck
2 - Nash never played with a second liner let alone a first liner while he was at his peak while he put up some impressive stats.
3 - I obviously ignored injuries, but hey... If Heater was out there with next to nothing to play with and if he actually cared enough to play like a player with a backbone stronger than a wooden chopstick and was trying to win every game he would have been a mad injury case as well.
4 - Nash has way more skill. Look at his highlight reel goals and then look at Heater's highlight reel goals as reference.
5 - Whenever it became difficult for Heater to produce he demanded a trade. Nash hung around Columbus for a very long time with nothing and his totals were amazing. Like what if Crosby had Joensu, Petry, and Gagner 2 years ago to play with for the prime of his career? Would he be winning hart trophies and scoring races? Hell no! (no not comparing Crosby to Nash. Just saying that he wouldn't have accomplished nearly as much if he hadn't had good support players around him.)
Impressive stats? maybe your bar is a little low, he never even had an 80 point season. And was outscored by "not even a 2nd-liner" David Vyborny in 2006.
Heatley was a 67 point rookie in the dead puck era and scored more than Nash ever did in his 2nd year as a sophomore once again in the dead puck era.
6 - Nash asked to be moved to New York, and now the Blueshirts look like the Blue Jackets.
You can't possibly blame the guy for saying that he didn't want to spend his whole life playing on a rebuilding team. He helped his team stay competitive with that trade.
Brad Richards has been paid to be a 1st line center when he's an average 2nd line center. His production with Dallas was a blimp on the radar because he was on a contract year.
Rangers have some good wingers, but they're still a pretty dismal team up front. No great PMD to help him rush the play. No great playmaker to feed him passes. No elite sniper to make passes to. Cover Nash and the other two guys on his line will get some space to produce, but they haven't got the upside in them to be able to make it significant.
Heatley was a machine during his peak. He could score from anywhere, and regularly did. His playmaking and vision were very good as well, he could slide a perfect pass over to a teammate or blow the puck by the goalie equally well. That made him even tougher to handle and made the Pizza line incredibly deadly.
It's "what has been" versus "what could have been". I don't doubt for a second that Nash could put up great production with Spezza and Alfredsson. But Heatley is the one that did it, and he did it with back to back 50 goal years.
Rick Nash is only 29 though. We might not have even seen his peak yet.