The last two deals made by the Jackets were pretty minor, but in the end they come away with a goaltender who will likely serve as the backup to Elvis Merzlikins for the balance of the season.
First, the Jackets closed the book on one of the most memorable players in CBJ history, sending injured forward Jakub Voracek’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes.
This one makes me sad, because it probably means that Jakub is done playing hockey. He was a wildly fun player to watch; noticeable as much for his huge beard and genuine smile, as he was for his ridiculous playmaking ability. He led the Jackets in scoring last season in spite of only scoring six goals, which is an incredible feat in its own right.
Unfortunately, a history of concussions has derailed an incredible career for a player who seemed like he still had some gas left in the tank. Hopefully, Jakub is in a good place, that’s really what matters most. As far as the hockey goes, the Jackets clear $8.25m in cap space for the rest of this season and next, which is a no small feat – and all it costs them is a sixth round pick. We might look back on this one in a few months and realize that it was a hugely important move. Grade: A
One last bit of tidying up here, with Jarmo making good on his word and flipping Jonathan Quick back to a contender. This was the right move, for no reason other than Quick deserving one last playoff run to cap off a stellar career. He wasn’t getting that if he came to Columbus.
The Jackets get a veteran backup to play behind Elvis Merzlikins for the balance of the season, which allows them to keep Daniil Tarasov down in the AHL, where he can play on a nightly basis. They also acquire a lottery ticket that we will almost certainly forget about in 2.5 years when it finally gets put to use, in exchange for retaining money on Jonathan Quick. Grade: C (Give it a B for moral reasons, if you want)
Overall grade: C
All in all, it’s about what we expected from this year’s trade deadline. I think if Nyquist had remained healthy, and so many teams had not decided to start selling off defensemen, we might have come out of things with another third round pick or two – maybe a second rounder if someone got desperate. Or, perhaps an extra fourth in place of the extra third. You get the idea.
But, by packaging his two best assets, Jarmo did a nice job pulling something together after his reported deal with the Bruins fell through. In the end, the team adds two goaltenders to their depth for the rest of this season, along with three draft picks (1st, 3rd, 7th rounders); while sending away Gavrikov, Korpisalo, Nyquist, and Voracek.
When you put those names in order like that, it sure seems like this team gave up a ton. But, in reality, none of these players were coming back to Columbus next season – save maybe Nyquist, but that’s a discussion for another time. We didn’t see the rumored big fish landed, and that’s OK – those kind of moves are probably better suited for the summer anyway. At least we have some extra assets.