The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to enhance scoring in front of a top defense in the league, while Toronto is in the opposite situation.
The Columbus Blue Jackets may need to add an additional scoring forward for the future depending on the current Artemi Panarin situation and the Toronto Maple Leafs are a perfect fit for a trade. They’re currently dealing with William Nylander refusing to sign a contract as a restricted free agent. The Leafs current options seem to be either trading him or trading someone else to clear up cap space.
A player they might look to move to clear up cap space would be center Nazem Kadri, who is signed to a fairly long term deal.
Another player the Blue Jackets could be interested in would be Jake Gardiner. If the Jackets don’t have faith in the current options of Dean Kukan, Scott Harrington or Gabriel Carlsson for the bottom defensive pairing Gardiner could become a target for the CBJ. However, this makes little sense from Toronto’s point of view.
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William Nylander is a superstar in the making, and as such it will take a king’s ransom to get him away from Kyle Dubas. The new Leafs’ general manager is trying to prove he has what it takes to be a long term fixture in the NHL.
The piece that will likely be at the base of negotiations would be winger Artemi Panarin. Of course, the Blue Jackets would have to get a conditional draft pick or two back in case he re-signs with the Maple Leafs.
Also involved in the trade, in order to address the Maple Leafs defensive situation that I mentioned earlier would be one of Ryan Murray, Markus Nutivaara, or Gabriel Carlsson. This certainly does seem like a lot to give up at first, but with the fact that Nylander has two 61 point seasons by the age of 22, it would certainly be worth it.
As mentioned before, the Blue Jackets would need something in return if Artemi Panarin signed an extension in Toronto as he’s being traded as a rental. So in full the trade would look something like:
Both teams would be taking a risk, however Toronto would be taking the biggest risk. Losing WIlliam Nylander for one year of Panarin and a mid-level defenseman wouldn’t be a good payoff, so if Panarin doesn’t re-sign expect Toronto to get a high draft pick back as well.
Nazem Kadri would be a cheaper option, however he’s older with less offensive upside but a more polished two-way style of play. He’s currently slotted in as Toronto’s third line center behind John Tavares and Auston Matthews.
The Columbus Blue Jackets should explore a potential trade for one of these options with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but as always if the price is too high it’s best to stay away.