NHL Trade Deadline: 4 Realistic Possibilities for Blue Jackets

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
1 of 5

The NHL trade deadline is on March 21, and the Columbus Blue Jackets could be one of the busier teams in the league over the next few weeks. They are one of 13 organizations that have less than a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to MoneyPuck.com, and of those teams, only the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings have more cap space to play with.

While the Sabres have already offloaded their biggest trade chip in Jack Eichel and the Red Wings don’t have much in the way of rentals available—Nick Leddy is probably their most attractive rental, for context—Columbus has a handful of mid-level skaters that contenders might find intriguing.

It’s likely that the league’s upper echelon of teams will look to make some splashes between now and the deadline, and the Blue Jackets are uniquely positioned.

They have a few players who could fit as rentals. They have a handful of skaters who have a bit of term left that might be moved. And they also have that aforementioned cap space, which could allow them to facilitate a trade for a cap-strapped team such as the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning or Colorado Avalanche.

Here we’re going to look at some realistic trade possibilities that the Blue Jackets could explore between now and March 21. We aren’t going to be suggesting a second-round pick for Connor McDavid because that isn’t realistic.

We’re also going to stray away from any Patrik Laine chatter because the team has made it pretty clear that the preference would be to keep him. And only two currently playoff teams (the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators) could eat his $7.5 million cap hit without moving significant money back.

Plus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen recently explained to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic that he’s not interested in “rebuilding” the Blue Jackets; that calling the least year a reset wasn’t just semantics.

With that in mind, here are a few moves that could make sense for Columbus.