NHL Trade Deadline: 5 Deals Columbus Blue Jackets Must Consider
NHL Trade Deadline Deals the Columbus Blue Jackets Must Consider
Prior to the Olympic break the Columbus Blue Jackets were on an upswing in the NHL. Despite the 5-4-1 record in the last 10 games, the Blue Jackets sneaked back into playoff contention. Columbus may be 20 points behind the division leading Pittsburgh Penguins, but they are only four points behind the second place New York Rangers. As the trade deadline nears, Columbus should entertain any and all trades for blue line help and a depth winger. However, they may not pull the trigger on any big names.
The good news for the Blue Jackets is that Marion Gaborik could return to the lineup Thursday after recovering from a broken collarbone. Gaborik had shed his injury issues while with the Rangers and was consistent for Columbus until this most recent setback. Gaborik was cleared for contact last week and his addition to the lineup may be the biggest transaction the Blue Jackets make before the March 5th trade deadline.
Columbus is not without some injury concerns as Jared Boll and Fedor Tyutin were missing from practice this week. Boll's return is still uncertain and Tyutin is out two to three weeks with an ankle injury. Defense is not a position of depth for Columbus so his absence creates a need. Dalton Prout was recalled from Springfield to fill in for Tyutin.
As the season resumes the Blue Jackets have a favorable schedule to regain momentum. They face the New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators during the next six game stretch. Columbus is 12-5-1 since January 1 and are on pace to score a franchise record number of goals. Still they don’t want to have to outscore the opponent so most targets will be defenders and they may look to the New York teams to fill that void.
5. Andrew McDonald
Defenseman Andrew McDonald is having a revival season with the New York Islanders after spending two years overseas. McDonald has recorded 20 assists this year and his cap hit of $550,000 is very friendly. This would add a veteran presence to the blue line and provide depth for the Blue Jackets.
4. Dan Girardi
The Rangers are in a tough spot as they have been angling all season to make moves, but the team has been on fire of late. Dan Girardi will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, so the question becomes if he is in the future plans for New York. Girardi is looking for a six-year extension. The Blue Jackets should explore this and see if they can take Girardi as a loan to help for a playoff push.
3. Ales Hemsky
It seems like Ales Hemsky is a target of NHL trade deadline rumors each year but continues to show loyalty to the Edmonton Oilers. Hemsky will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year as he plays out the year with a $5 million cap hit. He scored three goals in five games for the Czech Republic in the Olympics. Hemsky is worth a look for some depth and flexibility in the forward ranks in Columbus.
2. Alexander Edler
The finally two moves would be hard to pull off. To get Alexander Edler the Blue Jackets would probably have to part ways with Gaborik and some other parts. Edler is in the first year of a six year deal, but the Vancouver Canucks have shown interest in Gaborik. Edler also has a no-trade clause that could cause issues for any team pursuing the defenseman.
1. Ryan Callahan
Once again the target comes from New York as Ryan Callahan heads toward unrestricted free agency. Reports have Callahan requesting a sever-year extension worth about $7 million per year. Initial reports that New York may want to trade Callahan were considered just a negotiating tactic but as the trade deadline draws near it seems more and more possible. In fact, Darren Dreger of TSN reported that sources told him they are 99% certain that Callahan will get traded. Given the other former Rangers on the Columbus roster, the Blue Jackets should inquire.