Columbus Blue Jackets Should be Selective in Free Agency

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 7: Sam Gagner /

The Columbus Blue Jackets enter the free agency period with a void in their roster as some tough offseason decisions have been made already.

With William Karlsson to Las Vegas and Scott Hartnell’s buyout, the Columbus Blue Jackets have spots available. The big question is, will they fill space from within or make a move?

If they choose to add a player in free agency, they have to be sure to bring in the right one. Not all players would be a good fit, especially when their coach is John Tortorella.

Here’s a breakdown of a few unrestricted free agents and their potential fit with the Blue Jackets:

Related Story: CBJ should pursue Ryan Johansen

Joe Thornton: Good Fit

Elliotte Friedman of lists the Columbus Blue Jackets as one of four teams that could possibly land Joe Thornton.

Despite nearing 38-years old, he may be a great fit in Columbus. If it’s decided that center prospects, like Pierre-Luc Dubois, aren’t ready for the NHL, the Blue Jackets could use their cap space on a lucrative one-year deal for Thornton.

His production last year proves that he still has gas left in the tank. Though the Blue Jackets seem to be building around their youth, Thornton could provide leadership and give Columbus a solid all-around year if acquired.

Brian Boyle: Bad Fit

Yes, Brian Boyle may seem like a good fit under John Tortorella. However, the Jackets could find a younger and cheaper option for the same type of production that Boyle would give.

His experience in the playoffs might make his name more appealing on one hand, but on the other he is almost 33-years old and probably wants to go somewhere he is more familiar with.

Sam Gagner: Good Fit

Hey, we know him! Sam Gagner is now a more realistic option in Columbus with the recently cleared cap space of Scott Hartnell and David Clarkson.

Related Story: Columbus Blue Jackets Buyout Forward Scott Hartnell

Gagner can play center or wing and will help the power play of whichever team he joins. He fits into the system and John Tortorella is a big fan of his which is a huge plus.

Who knows how much Gagner actually liked Columbus, but the resurgence of his career in the city has to mean something.

Alexander Radulov: Bad Fit

Alexander Radulov is a legit scoring option, but for his age he may be too costly for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Besides, the Jackets already have an established core of right wingers in Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson. Radulov isn’t what Columbus needs at the moment even though he wouldn’t make the team worse.

Radim Vrbata: Good Fit

Radim Vrbata hasn’t been linked to Columbus in any reports, but similar to Joe Thornton, could be a solid short term solution.

Vrbata put up impressive numbers as a 35-year old this past year in Arizona. Imagine giving him a year on a team that’s more solidified.

He could be a replacement for in the Sam Gagner-role of last season which could help him adjust to Columbus and not feel too much pressure. Vrbata has the potential to be a 20-goal scorer, at least, for the Blue Jackets next year.

As a player who has bounced around the league, don’t doubt him keeping an open mind. Maybe Columbus won’t even reach out to him, but it would be worth a shot.

Martin Hanzal: Bad Fit

Martin Hanzal plays center, which is a spot that the Blue Jackets are looking to fill, but he isn’t the best option for the team.

With concerns regarding injuries, the 30-year old shouldn’t be a top free agency option. Similarly with others, he would require too much of a cap hit to take a risk on.

Hanzal is talented, but not what the Blue Jackets need down the center of the ice right now.