If no other NHL team claims Nash by Tuesday, he could join the Coyotes' San Antonio affiliate. Nash will be paid his full US$608,000 salary whether he plays in the NHL or in the minor leagues.
"There are really times in the sports world where decisions are made that are really more difficult than other decisions, and we just felt at this time that it's the right decision to make," coach Wayne Gretzky said Monday. "The bottom line is, we added some more players this year and we've got more depth."
The move did not come as a surprise after Nash was scratched from Saturday's home exhibition game against Anaheim. He appeared in only two exhibition games for the Coyotes, who open the regular season Thursday against the New York Islanders at home.
Nash has played six NHL seasons, the last two with the Coyotes. He had six assists and did not score a goal in 50 games last year, when he missed 31 games with injuries.
"I spent Saturday talking to Tyson and told him that we understood what he's done for this organization and what he's meant to us," Gretzky said. "As I told him, I had to go through the same scenario with Brett Hull last year. Tyson's case is a little bit different. He wants to keep playing. We tried to accommodate that. To this point in time that hasn't happened."
Faced with diminished ice time, Hull retired five games into last season.