Columbus Blue Jackets: Dark Horse Trade Candidates

The Columbus Blue Jackets have reached a point where even with a struggling power play, a trade isn’t necessary; however it could certainly help with a push toward the playoffs in coming months. With all the rumors circling the Blue Jackets, here’s a few players who haven’t been mentioned often.

The Columbus Blue Jackets no longer feel required to trade for a center with the emergence of Pierre-Luc Dubois as the top line center for the time being. With that being said, the list of trade candidates has expanded vastly as a result. The Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres all have at least one player who would be interesting to the Blue Jackets.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a great amount of depth on the blue line, however they do lack a top four stay-at-home defenseman. Zach Werenski and Seth Jones are certainly more offensive minded, while David Savard and Jack Johnson are prototypical two-way defensemen who play at the same skill level at both ends of the ice. Adding a top four defenseman who can shut teams down, would certainly help in terms of suppressing shots and the penalty kill as well; even though that’s likely not a top priority at this point.

If the Columbus Blue Jackets begin struggling in that category, keep an eye out on Arizona’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. Hjalmarsson is a new comer to Arizona, and he’d certainly want out if he could get traded to a contender; which is very likely to happen at some point this season. It’s difficult to find a spot to slot him into the current defensive lineup, meaning that a roster defenseman would almost certainly be part of the return; more likely than not that defenseman would be Jack Johnson.

The Florida Panthers option is a bit of an odd one, however it would certainly help stabilize the second or third forward line; and potentially allow the Blue Jackets to try Alexander Wennberg on the wing. Nick Bjugstad certainly isn’t an elite scorer at the NHL level, however he is a spitting image of everything a physical power forward should be. His size and skill level could easily make him a high end second or third liner on any team, even if he had a disappointing season last year. Bjugstad wouldn’t answer the power play issue by any means, but adding him down the middle would add roughly 30 to 40 points every season.

The Buffalo Sabres could have a player who would fix the Columbus Blue Jackets power play issue, and before people get scared it is not Evander Kane. Jason Pominville has been a high level talent in the NHL for quite a while, even though he never truly reached superstar status. At the age of 35, he’d be the oldest player on the Blue Jackets; however his scoring has yet to slow down. With 8 goals and 8 assists in 29 games on one of the worst teams in the NHL at the moment, it seems almost guaranteed he could do big things on a contender.  His cap hit is currently quite large, however if Buffalo trades him; they’ll almost certainly retain close to half his salary.

The Philadelphia Flyers have two players who would be intriguing to the Columbus Blue Jackets, however only one would really be considered realistic. Claude Giroux would certainly fix the Blue Jackets center issue and he’s over a point per game to start the season on a very disappointing team. While he’d be a great addition to the Blue Jackets, his cap hit of $8.725M through 2012-2022 according to Capfriendly.com makes him nothing more than just a dream for Blue Jackets fans.

The realistic option from Philadelphia would add another high end winger for the Blue Jackets, not only for this season but next season as well. Wayne Simmonds wouldn’t be a superstar acquisition like Artemi Panarin was in the off-season, however his 30 goals annually could certainly help solve the issue of the power play. According to Capfriendly.com, his cap hit is just under $4M through next year; which is a bargain for his skill level.

If the Columbus Blue Jackets can acquire any of these players, it will certainly give them a bit of a push toward the playoffs; however they’ll likely be just fine even without them.

 

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