Three Forwards the Columbus Blue Jackets Could Look to Trade Before the Deadline

Even though they have just one UFA, the Jackets have some pieces up front that could be intriguing to teams searching for depth at this year's trade deadline.

New Jersey Devils v Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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The most obvious trade candidate the Blue Jackets have going into this year's deadline: Jack Roslovic. Roslovic is the lone UFA player on the NHL roster.

It was three years ago yesterday that Roslovic (then a contract holdout) was acquired by the Jackets from the Winnipeg Jets, along with Patrik Laine; in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick. He immediately signed a two-year contract and joined the team that week.

If you asked me to describe Roslovic in one word, it's easy: inconsistent. Jack will go through stretches where he's white-hot, giving you the impression that he still has the kind of potential to be a productive top-six forward in this league.

The problem is, when he's not scoring (which is far too frequent), he's actually detrimental to his team's success. He doesn't bring any kind of physicality, he lacks defensive zone presence, and he doesn't really win faceoffs or bring any intangibles to the table.

Often, I find myself looking back at the game and wondering what he was even doing. When he isn't on his game, he just coasts around the ice and takes up space. It's maddening to watch, at times. He's 26 years old now, so we can no longer chalk this up to a learning young player.

Oct 21, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) celebrates
Oct 21, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) celebrates / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't seem to matter where they use him, either. He's been on every line this season for at least some stretch of time. Still, no matter who his linemates are, he's inconsistent. With a contract expiring this summer, it's time for the Jackets to move on from the hometown guy.

Even though he's inconsistent, he's still a somewhat productive player; scoring at roughly a half point-per-game pace throughout his career. That kind of middle-tier production is extremely valuable come playoff time, and any team looking to add depth scoring should be calling here.

His contract is pretty palatable as well, especially if the Jackets were willing to retain half of it. He's at a $4.0m AAV, so with half retention, a team could pick him up with only a fourth line cap hit. This is exactly the kind of move that a contending team should be gambling on.

With retention, I think it's possible that the Jackets could secure a second or third round pick for him. Obviously, it will take the right buyer, but they need to get as much as possible on an expiring asset, and they have the cap space available to retain on this deal. As bad as it may sound to say this, perhaps the best thing the team can hope for is another team seeing injuries to one of their scoring centers. That could drive the price up.

Either way, I do not see them re-signing Roslovic after this season. He's already been passed up by every other center on the NHL roster.

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