The Columbus Blue Jackets may have an easier time trading with an Atlantic Division team compared to the Metropolitan.
The Columbus Blue Jackets may be more inclined to trade out of their division, especially if they’re likely to be dealing up and coming prospects for more established players. The Atlantic Division, while still in the Eastern Conference, is one of the best options for high end talent. All cap information from Capfriendly.com
Ryan Dzingel – Ottawa Senators
Ryan Dzingel may be a popular name in Columbus simply due to his ties with Ohio State, however he could also make sense as a Blue Jacket. The Ottawa Senators center is in the midst of a breakout year on a struggling team while in the last year of his contract. Through 45 games, he’s put up 19 goals,16 assists and a grand total of 35 points. He’s not a superstar acquisition, but he’s a quality player in his prime with ties to the city.
Re-signing Dzingel wouldn’t be a bad idea after this season either if his demands are reasonable. Considering his past performances, it wouldn’t be questionable for him to ask around the $4M mark going forward. That type of contract would be very doable for the Blue Jackets going forward.
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Mark Stone – Ottawa Senators
A much higher priced, but higher quality option is also available in the Canadian capital and he goes by the name of Mark Stone. Through 47 games, he’s already scored 21 goals and with his 28 assists, he has a total of 49 points. Acquiring Stone would almost certainly be a rental situation, as there’s very little chance the Jackets could afford both him and Artemi Panarin.
However if the Columbus Blue Jackets make the move, it could show Panarin that they’re serious about winning the Stanley Cup sooner rather than later. Stone’s a highly skilled winger in the final year of his contract which carries a $7.35M cap hit. He’s likely to expect some sort of pay raise going forward, so he’ll likely ask for around the $8-9M range in free agency.
Jeff Skinner – Buffalo Sabres
This is likely the most unlikely trade target for the Blue Jackets, as Jeff Skinner is seen as a piece for the future in Buffalo. However, if they get the idea that he won’t sign going forward they may look to move him if they’re not in a playoff position when it gets closer to the trade deadline.
Adding Jeff Skinner would give the Blue Jackets a pure goal scorer, as he already has 30 goals this season in just 44 games. He may only have 14 assists, but if Skinner keeps scoring like that I doubt anyone in Columbus would mind.
It would take a lot of assets to get Skinner, considering what Buffalo gave up to get him and much like Mark Stone he’d be out of the Blue Jackets price range after this season. He’d be a pure rental, but he would definitely make the Blue Jackets one of the most fun teams to watch in the NHL.
Patrick Marleau – Toronto Maple Leafs
This is more than likely a move that would happen in the summer, and Patrick Marleau has a pretty big contract with an additional year after this season at a cap hit of $6.25M. But he’s still a solid player and the Toronto Maple Leafs will need to clear up some cap after the season in order to re-sign Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Marleau brings two things the Blue Jackets are missing, a very experienced leader and the desperation of a man who’s running out of chances to win the Stanley Cup. He won’t be the superstar he was in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but he’s still a serviceable middle six player. He’s scored 11 goals and has 11 assists through 46 games with Toronto and his speed isn’t what it once was since he’s 39 years old, but he could be a solid addition under the right circumstances.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have quite a few options to look at from the Atlantic Division, even beyond the ones that have been mentioned. Will they make a deal with one of those teams? Knowing Jarmo Kekalainen, probably not, but it’s fun to think of what could happen going forward.