Looking at this from both sides, I think the value is really easy to determine here. The Jackets can either add another depth/secondary player – or they can try for a nice first line stop-gap until they have some prospects ready to go.
For my money, the Jackets would be wise to hang onto Blankenburg. He’s still cheap, hasn’t yet established himself, and is the perfect guy to keep around as a 7th defenseman. Selling him at low value would be a bad idea; this seems like a guy who could become a real player in the NHL. So, my first trade idea involves taking a big swing with the most valuable asset they can deal.
A one-for-one trade brings the Jackets a guy who has scored 73 goals over the last two seasons. Brock Nelson would be a perfect fit on the top line alongside Johnny Gaudreau, and at 31 years of age, should be pretty productive in those remaining two years. His actual money during that time is only $5.6m and $4.0m, and in my opinion, he would be the perfect guy to pick up so the Jackets could buy time for whoever they take with the third overall pick in the upcoming draft.
The Islanders return one of the game’s bright up and coming puck-moving defensemen in Boqvist, who scored at a 60+ point pace for a good stretch of this season. He also gives the Islanders some much-needed cap flexibility, so they can fill out the rest of their lineup. The value for both teams is clear here – but the Jackets would have to convince Nelson, who has a 16-team no trade list at his disposal. If Boqvist can stay healthy, he’s easily a star on Long Island. In the end, both teams might be more comfortable with more of a minor deal:
In this trade, both teams go bargain-bin shopping. Jarmo gets a quality all-around veteran center, who can do a little bit of everything. Pageau likely slots right into the second line on a team like the Jackets, and gives them an energetic spark plug that can do all of the little things, while chipping in some secondary scoring. Does his presence help free up a player like Jack Roslovic for more offense?
The Islanders get a close replacement to Scott Mayfield in Andrew Peeke – a stay-at-home presence who blocks a ton of shots and tries to play a steady defensive zone game. They throw in a fourth round pick because they’re unloading a redundant bottom-six piece in Pageau, whose contract limits their options elsewhere. But, like Nelson, Pageau could block a trade, and would probably need convincing to come to Columbus. Would he be willing?
I would be surprised to see the Jackets targeting a big name player like Mat Barzal or Bo Horvat in any trade. I would be more surprised to see Jarmo willing to deal the young assets that a trade like that would take. But, there is value here for both sides in trying to make a deal – in spite of the fact that they’re inter-divisional rivals. Any of the players involved in the trades I mentioned, seem like they would be a good fit for the other side. It will be interesting to see if something does come up between these two teams.