The NHL Trade Deadline is just one month away. This means the rumor mills are turning away, as playoff teams jockey to find the piece(s) that might help get them over the Stanley Cup mountain.
One name that has been popping up in those rumor mills over the last few weeks: Columbus Blue Jacket captain Boone Jenner.
It's hardly a surprising turn of events. Boone Jenner is exactly the type of player you want on your team for a 7-game playoff series. He's versatile, able to play any forward position, on pretty much any line and in any role you need him to play.
He's physical, willing to battle in the corners on the forecheck, or in front of the net for a greasy goal. He does all of this without taking many penalties. Which is great news because, he's a high end penalty killer as well.
To top it off, Boone is an NHL All-Star this season. He has 13 goals in 35 games, while being the same old reliable two-way player we're accustomed to seeing in Columbus. All of this while having a team-friendly contract for two seasons beyond this one. Of course teams are calling on him.
But, all of the reasons above are exactly why the Blue Jackets want to keep him. Actually, I think they have to keep him. In spite of the fact that the team is buried at the bottom of the NHL standings again, they shouldn't be too quick to trade Boone away.
We see the broadcasters mention the youth of the Jackets all the time. They're regularly the youngest, or one of the youngest teams in the league. We also see fans complain about this fact, which is definitely part of the reason they're often at the bottom of the standings.
Trading Boone Jenner at this trade deadline, probably sets the entier rebuild off at least 1-2 more seasons - unless they can immediately acquire another Boone Jenner. You need quality NHL players on your team to have any chance of competing.
This is especially true with such a young team. His leadership is invaluable to a player like Adam Fantilli, or Cole Sillinger, or any of the other youngsters throughout the lineup.
For these reasons, if I were the GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the only way I'm trading Boone Jenner away is if some team wants to throw the absolute farm into the deal. I'm talking, a significant overpayment that brings the Jackets back multiple pieces that can help them now, and well into the future. The kind of trade that flips this team from the cellar, and into contention.
If someone is throwing a few draft picks or middle-level prospects my way, I'm hanging up the phone. Because there's no way this team can afford to lose a trade involving Boone Jenner. It cannot happen.
I'm almost certain the actual GM of the Blue Jackets, Jarmo Kekalainen, is thinking the exact same way. For that reason, I think the chance of a Boone Jenner trade prior to the trade deadline is, well, pretty slim.