You hear it every year at the trade deadline, and this season won’t be much different: defensive depth is important during the grind of a deep playoff run. Dean Kukan isn’t the most noteworthy name we’re mentioning here, and you’re not going to see him on TSN’s trade big board down the stretch.
Still, this is a player who has been able to step into the lineup when needed for the Blue Jackets and keep his head above water for the most part. On stronger Columbus teams, the blueliner was a solid enough possession player and not a drag at 5-on-5. That’s really all contending squads are looking for out of a No. 7 defenseman—what Kukan would likely be if traded.
He’s not going to do much in the offensive zone, as he has all of three goals and 10 assists in 84 contests over the last three campaigns, but for teams looking for that depth on the back end, Kukan could turn out to be a solid add in the case of injury or illness.
If you’re Columbus, however, is this the kind of useful player you want to trade away for low-end draft choices? This is why the trade deadline could get so interesting for the Blue Jackets. Sure, they have pieces they could move out, but fifth-round picks probably aren’t going to move the needle for this organization much in the future.