So they’ve drafted our center for the future. They’ve acquired one center for now. Do the Jackets run it back with Boone Jenner in a top-six center role, or do they look elsewhere?
There is one other way they could add to their center depth here. If you’ve followed along, they’ve added two top-six centers, though one probably won’t be there for two years. In the meantime, do they try to add one more piece for insurance?
Free agency options…
Bargain shopping is one way to add center depth to your team, and it wouldn’t mean giving up important young assets. There are a few good players available via this route this summer; and with not many teams having the cap space to afford to add much to their roster – and the Jackets having some premier wingers to play with – Columbus could do well here.
I’m not talking about the long-term options available, such as JT Compher or Pius Suter. They’re still young-ish and could be looking for multi-year deals. I’m talking about adding a guy like Jonathan Toews or Ryan O’Reilly, who might be willing to sign a two or three year contract. They could step into a middle-six role with the Jackets and find themselves in an ideal spot, playing alongside a couple of talented young players.
Or, is it possible that they could give a look to a player who needs one more chance with an NHL deal? Sean Monahan could come really cheap, and he has a good history with Johnny Gaudreau from when they played together in Calgary.
If they’re looking for someone to play on their top line, I don’t think the free agency method is the way to go. But if they’re looking to add a veteran that can help stem the tide until players like Cole Sillinger, Dmitri Voronkov, or whoever their third overall pick is – this could be an effective way to do that.
Regardless, I don’t see Jarmo throwing the bag at any of the players available in free agency. It’s going to be a shorter term deal for that reason, and it will have to be the right kind of guy. A veteran player who can help this team on the defensive side of the puck, in the faceoff dot, and with enough skill to produce and keep pace with the younger offensive talent.