The Columbus Blue Jackets open up trade deadline day by acquiring Ian Cole.
The first trade of deadline day is made by Jarmo Kekalainen and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The deal with the Ottawa Senators sends a 2020 3rd round pick and Nick Moutrey for defenseman Ian Cole. The 29-year-old blue liner spent the last four seasons in Pittsburgh.
Ian Cole is a third pairing defenseman that is serviceable at the NHL level. He has played in 47 games this season and has 13 points. He is a free agent at the end of the season and only has a cap hit of $2.1 million a year.
Jarmo is certainly familiar with Ian Cole. He was a part of the St. Louis Blues organization that drafted Cole originally.
The cost for Cole is key. Nick Moutrey wasn’t going to make it up to the NHL anytime soon. His stint in Cleveland hasn’t impressed anyone in Columbus. And a 3rd round pick in 2020? That’s nothing. Even if Cole plays like a 6th/7th defenseman, he is well worth the price.
Jack Johnson next to move
The addition of the third pair defenseman likely spells the end of the Jack Johnson era in Columbus. The extra NHL capable blue liner will allow the Jackets to ship Johnson away as was his desire. The Johnson move should come soon for either a first round pick or a NHL capable forward.
The depth on the blue line has been tested this season with injuries and the decline in play of guys like Johnson. The team needed to add a guy like Cole if they were ever going to deal Johnson.
The market for Johnson will be great affected by what happens to Ryan McDonagh. Johnson will be a fall back for many teams who think they have a chance to get McDonagh and the market seems to be a bit pricey for the Ranger defenseman.