Category Archives: Clb. Blue Jackets

Initial Recation: Hjalmarsson and Saad/Panarin trades 

The host city for this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Chicago, made a gigantic splash early on in the day. 

Shortly after the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs, general manager Stan Bowman promised change. Clearly unhappy with being swept out in the first round, change is exactly what Stan Bowman brought. 

The first move he made was trading defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona in exchange for defenseman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin. Although initially believed to be a salary cap move, the Blackhawks wound up only saving approximately $300,000. 

Trading Hjalmarsson was surely a difficult endeavor for Bowman. The Swede has been one of the most underrated defensemen in the league for quite some time now. 

Connor Murphy is a formidable NHL player but he is not at the caliber of Hjalmarsson, at least not yet. To be fair, Murphy is younger and carries more of a certainty with his cost (signed for five more years at $3.85 million). Hjalmarsson only has two more seasons left on his current deal before he hits unrestricted free agency. 

Dauphin, once considered a top prospect, has fallen off a bit, but he still holds the capability of being an NHL regular. Whether he plays in Chicago or Rockford next season remains to be seen. 

However, with no disrespect towards Murphy or Dauphin, this is a great trade for Arizona. Hjalmarsson will serve as a good mentor and experienced winner on a young Coyotes squad. Plus, obviously, he is a fantastic defender. 

The Blackhawks were not done yet though. A few moments later, rumblings from Elliott Friedman indicated a swap involving Brandon Saad and Artemi Panarin was in the air. With a few extra moving parts, the deal did eventually go through. 

The final result was Columbus getting Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte and Chicago getting Brandon Saad (back) and Anton Forsberg. Low picks were also swapped. 

It is hard to get a read on this trade. Panarin and Kane had chemistry, but you could put almost anyone on Kane’s line and they will click given Kane’s skill set. 

The overarching theme here, I believe, is that the Hawks were looking for someone to play with Jonathan Toews. He and Saad were dominant in the few years they were together. After consecutive disappointing years by Toews, maybe this will give him the boost he needs. 

As for Panarin, he was just set to begin a new deal with Chicago. He is set to earn $6 million for the next two years before hitting unrestricted free agency. 

This is a trade that will be looked at in hindsight after seeing how Saad and Panarin perform on their (technically) new teams. 

As for the other pieces, Motte will likely slot in the bottom six for Columbus. Forsberg will have the chance to compete for a backup spot in Chicago. 

Stay tuned for more draft coverage. 

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles


Predicting Protected Lists: Columbus Blue Jackets 

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a very vulnerable position when it comes to the expansion draft. Even if things go perfectly, they will still be losing an important player to Vegas. 

First things first, Scott Hartnell’s situation needs to be looked at. Currently, Hartnell has two more years at $4.75 million per on his contract. In addition, he carries a no-movement clause, which, as we all know, requires him to be protected in the expansion draft. 

The consensus is that Columbus will either get Hartnell to waive his clause so they can keep a younger player, or Hartnell we be bought out. The latter option is certainly worse for Columbus due to the term remaining on Hartnell’s contract. 

No matter how it happens, though, Columbus cannot afford to have Hartnell on their protected list over the likes of William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, or someone else of greater significance than the agitator. 

Assuming Hartnell is not on the protected list, the Jackets will have to choose seven forwards from a crop of eight or nine that deserve protection. 

The players that will undoubtedly be protected include Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, and Cam Atkinson. 

That leaves two spots for Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson, and William Karlsson. 

Wennberg could almost be placed into the previous category mentioned. Wennberg is an extremely valuable, versatile, and young center that Jarmo Kekalainen certainly will not want to lose. 

So, essentially, the choice comes down to Josh Anderson or William Karlsson. Anderson, 23, had 17 goals and 29 points in 78 games last season. Karlsson, 24, had six goals and 25 points in 81 games. 

The stats favor Anderson slightly, however both players are important to Columbus’ success. However, if I had to place money on it, I think Columbus would protect Josh Anderson in this scenario, and I think that is how it is going to play out in a week. 

As for defensemen, Columbus can protect three of Seth Jones, Ryan Murray, David Savard, and Jack Johnson. In terms of age and contracts, it is a safe bet to think that it will be Jones, Murray, and Savard that get the protection slots. 

In goal, Sergei Bobrovsky has a no-movement clause and must be protected. Bobrovsky, a Hart Trophy finalist this year, would have been protected anyways. 

This, though, leaves Joonas Korpisalo unprotected. Korpisalo has the potential to turn into an NHL starter and would also be very enticing for Vegas. 

The Blue Jackets protection list could wind up looking like this:

Forwards: Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner, Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson

Defense: Ryan Murray, David Savard, Seth Jones

Goalie: Sergei Bobrovsky 

The Vegas Golden Knights could take either William Karlsson or Joonas Korpisalo if this is the case. It all depends on what else is out there and what their needs are. 

Next team: Dallas Stars 

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Despite having no quality unrestricted free agents, Blue Jackets expected to be active at trade deadline 

The Columbus Blue Jackets were never able to recover from starting the season with eight straight regulation losses and have put themselves into the position to sell at the 2016 NHL trade deadline. However, they are a strange case, as they only have two unrestricted free agents, both of which would barely fetch a low pick. 

Those two free players are Rene Bourque and Justin Falk. Both men are not appetizing to teams making a Cup run. Columbus does have some assets they could still trade, though. 

One is Scott Hartnell. The 33 year old winger has a respectable 39 points in 58 games this year and is a known agitator. Hartnell still has three years left on his salary. For a team looking to make a playoff push this year and next year, it’s a good investment. But you run the risk of having a worn down and potentially non-productive Hartnell in the last two years of his deal. We’ll see if anyone takes the bait. 

Another favorite to be traded is veteran defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Tyutin is 32 with two more years left on his deal after this one. 

Do teams take a risk going after these players with term left? Tyutin would have one year left and Hartnell would have two if the NHL expanded for the 2017-2018 season, where they could potentially be dropped into the expansion draft by the team who acquires them. Anyways, we’ll put the tinfoil hats away for now. 

As the trade deadline goes, Hartnell and Tyutin should be two names that float around. Whether that is the extent of Columbus’ moves next Monday or not, we do not know. However, the roster will looked changed going into next season regardless.  

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Looking back at the crazy 2012 draft deal that almost happened 

Back at the 2012 draft in Pittsburgh, a monstrous deal almost went down between the New York Islanders and the Columbus Blue Jackets. The deal would’ve sent all seven of the Islanders draft picks, including the fourth overall, to the Blue Jackets for the second overall pick. The Blue Jackets declined the deal.

Looking back on it, it was a blessing that Scott Howson and the Blue Jackets did that. The draft for the Islanders looked like this: 

#4: Griffin Reinhart 

#34: Ville Pokka

#65: Adam Pelech

#103: Loic Leduc

#125: Doyle Somerby

#155: Jesse Graham

#185: Jake Bischoff

All of those players are defensemen, with all but Pokka and Reinhart still in the organization. 

Both of those players took different paths, with Reinhart’s stint with the pro club ending quite quickly. He was traded for two picks which eventually became Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. Pokka, on the other hand, looked like he was primed to become a solid NHL defender for the Islanders. Pokka was eventually traded as the main piece in the Nick Leddy deal and is thriving in the Blackhawks organization, and neither team is any worse off from the deal. 

Dylan Somerby and Jake Biscoff are playing at Boston University and the University of Minnesota respectively. Both players don’t look like standout prospects, but they can rightfully still become something good. Somerby is a massive 6’5 which helps. 

Loic Leduc and Jesse Graham have flipped between the AHL and ECHL during their pro careers and don’t appear to be amounting to much. 

What would’ve happened if the Islanders got what they wanted with that deal? All seven picks: gone. The Islanders are on the clock with pick number two. They reportedly didn’t mind either Ryan Murray or Nail Yakupov, but more likely the former would’ve been chosen. As we know, Murray has had his fair share of injury issues but is still a solid defenseman for Columbus. He even recently inked a new contract extension worth just north of 2.8 million per season for two years. Yakupov has been in the headlights of Edmonton criticism for quite some time now, maybe due to lack of productions compared to other number one picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He is still a great player with potential, however. 

Now, the fallout. The Islanders don’t get Pokka and don’t get to use him in the Leddy deal. Do they even make the Nick Leddy deal with Ryan Murray aboard? The defense could’ve had a core of Boychuk, Murray, de Haan and Hamonic moving forward. Leddy is just two years older than Murray, so the Islanders made out pretty well on this end. 

Griffin Reinhart wouldn’t be an Islander either, and although that may have saved a lot of frustration, it wouldn’t have gotten the Islanders Barzal and Beauvillier. 

The Islanders wouldn’t have Adam Pelech either, who has shown tremendous signs of growth and seems to be slated to be a solid, stay at home defenseman. The Islanders got a gem with this kid. 

All in all, the Islanders have a lot to thank Scott Howson for (who is ironically now with the Oilers, the team who traded for Reinhart) not pulling the trigger. He couldn’t have known at the time, but he did the Islanders a great favor. The declining of that deal significantly altered the future of the Islanders in a ripple effect, although it technically remains unknown how far both teams would be today if the deal actually did go down. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: one more month until the NHL trade deadline 

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and is now about one month away. Teams are beginning to see whether or not they want to sell their players at the deadline meaning the speculation will continue to increase. 

The Buffalo Sabres are still shopping Tyler Ennis but to no avail yet. He has been disappointing this year and with a crowded top-six of young players in Buffalo, he may not have a spot. Due to his high salary, some will have to be retained. Jamie McGinn is also being looked at around the league, but Buffalo likes him. Could he pull a Matt Moulson and sign back with Buffalo in the summer after being traded? We’ll see. 

The Canucks have been looking around the league for potential suitors for Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis. The latter has had injury problems this year, however Vrbata would be a nice pickup for a team in the playoff hunt. Someone like Florida, Nashville, or one of the New York teams could have interest in the forward. 

The Coyotes are very reluctant to move Mikkel Boedker although nothing is impossible. The Danish left winger is due for a big pay increase from his current 3.75 million.

You wonder what the deal is with Yevgeni Medvedev and the Flyers is. He is a good defenseman and would be great for a playoff run for any team but the Flyers are still in the thick of the playoff race themselves. The Flyers also have an influx of young defensemen coming up through the system which could make Medvedev expendable. 

Keith Yandle continues to be shopped but nothing as of yet. It might be in best interest for the Rangers, given their closing window, to get this playoff run out of him. 

Columbus is expected to be very aggressive at the trade deadline. Although they have no big unrestricted free agents, certain names could be moved out such as Kerby Rychel. The David Clarkson contract has been thrown out there but to no takers. 

The Islanders seem to be at a gridlock with Travis Hamonic and Kyle Okposo. Hamonic’s trade won’t come until the offseason and the Islanders don’t want to give up Okposo for futures so they may end up keeping him and risk losing him to free agency. 

The Jets have equally looked around for Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Nothing is out of the question for the deadline for either player. Ladd is the more feasible option for the team, however. 

Don’t be surprised if the Anaheim Ducks make another move prior to February 29th. Likely a defense for offense move. 

More to come as the trade deadline draws nearer. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Oilers missed a golden opportunity to trade for Seth Jones 

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded Ryan Johansen to the Predators earlier today in exchange for Seth Jones. This is one of those deals that works out for both teams on paper and likely will on the ice, too. But there was one loser: the Edmonton Oilers. 

It’s no secret that Edmonton needs defense. They have McDavid, Draisaitl, Hall, Yakupov, Eberle, and Nugent-Hopkins up front, but have had a tough time keeping puck out of their own net. They have given up the third most goals in the league, although bright spots like Darnell Nurse have helped pad that stat a little. The Oilers missed out on a big chance today with Seth Jones. 

The ideal player at this point to be traded for defense is Jordan Eberle, but that hasn’t picked up steam in quite some time. With McDavid and Draisaitl (a natural center) in the wings, it may not have been a bad idea to try to swing a Nugent-Hopkins for Seth Jones trade. I’m sure they tried, but they could’ve gotten the deal done if they really wanted to I presume. 

Nugent-Hopkins was the first overall pick in 2011 and has 216 points in 298 NHL games. Johansen, the fourth overall pick in 2010, has 193 points in 309 games. Pretty similar numbers, although RNH has the slight advantage. 

Peter Chiarelli probably didn’t want to part ways with a stud center, but that’s the give you need to take away a stud defenseman like Seth Jones. The Oilers year hasn’t gone well and playoffs are a long shot, and the Connor McDavid injury didn’t help. If they could’ve gotten Jones to add to Nurse, while picking up another forward in the draft to play alongside McDavid, Draisaitl, Hall, Eberle and Yakupov in the top-six, they could’ve been in good position for next year. 

The Oilers are going to have to break up their forward group eventually to improve on the back end and they may have missed their best opportunity here, even if it meant adding another small asset on top of Nugent-Hopkins. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five NHL questions you didn’t think you would have to ask at the Christmas break

The NHL started it’s Christmas break today. This year seems a bit odd for many reasons, from scoring to standings. Many things are not what anybody expected from this year’s league and there are a lot a questions to be asked. 

What’s wrong with the Pacific Division?

The Central Division has held the title of “toughest division” for the past couple of years, with little disparity between first and last place. However, the Pacific Division was always considered to be the second strongest division out there, beating out the “weaker” Eastern Conference. That is not the case this year. Six of the seven teams have more losses (including overtime losses) than wins. The Kings have control of the division by six points. This is also strange because the Sharks, Coyotes and Oilers are all doing better than they did last year. There’s still time to turn it around and make those teams feared again, but the start of the season has indicated the opposite. 

Can the Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf turn it around?

Going along with the Pacific Division topic, the Ducks are currently sitting last in that division and second to last in the league, although they do have some games in hand. Last year’s Western Conference leaders have taken a significant drop off despite not making any major offseason moves outside of the Hagelin-for-Etem trade. Their captain Ryan Getzlaf has started cold and is continuing to be cold with one goal in 29 games, after scoring at least 25 in the two seasons prior. The Ducks are running out of time quick but may be saved by the poor play in their division. 

How about them Panthers? 

I had the Panthers as a bubble team this year, but so far they’ve blown away expectations. They are one point away from leading the Atlantic with a game in hand on Montreal. Jagr has continued his dominance, and the emergence of young players like Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov have fueled this team to make it to the top. The Panthers look to be in line to be players at the trade deadline this year. Radim Vrbata, anyone?

How will the Johansen situation solve itself? 

Ryan Johansen and Columbus seemed to be on pretty good terms last year, despite missing the playoffs and having a lengthy and stressful contract situation during the offseason. It’s all gone downhill now, however. His relationship with new coach John Tortorella is strained to say the very least and has come with multiple benching incidents and even a healthy scratch. Rumblings around the league have suggested that Johansen is being shopped to some aggressive degree. Whether or not Columbus is willing to move him while his value is at an all time low is the quandary. 

Can the Penguins correct themselves? 

The Penguins were labeled a frontrunner for the Metropolitan Division in July when they acquired Phil Kessel, despite having suspect defense. This issue, along with a lack of production from players including Sidney Crosby, has pushed the Penguins to five points out of a playoff spot as of the morning of December 23rd. They fired Mike Johnston and brought in Mike Sullivan, but can he fix the sinking ship that is the Penguins? 

Only time will tell how some of these stories play out, especially as we inch closer to the trade deadline. The league has gotten more and more competitive so as time goes on it’ll be tougher and tougher for teams like Pittsburgh and Anaheim to fix their issues and climb the standings. The midway point of the season is just around the corner, folks. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Florida Panthers are a perfect match for Ryan Johansen 

Ryan Johansen’s season is Columbus hasn’t been the best and he has now found himself in serious trade discussions. Johansen has been benched for lengthy portions of games on numerous occasions by new coach John Tortorella, and he even became a healthy scratch against Arizona this past week. 

There will be no lack of interest if Ryan Johansen is on the trading market. Despite his reported bad attitude or unwillingness to work hard at times, Johansen is still a dominant player. Just last season it looked like he could be a franchise piece for the Blue Jackets, which is exactly what they intended for him to be when they made him the fourth overall pick in 2010. After a rough first two years, Johansen broke out with 63 points two years ago and 71 last year and looked like an elite centerman. 

Some of the teams that would be interested in Johansen likely include the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues, but the Florida Panthers seem to make a lot of sense. They need extra scoring, as well as a first line center as Aleksander Barkov develops. It would be a lethal one-two punch immediately and neither of them have hit their primes yet. The Panthers are currently a bubble team, just edging out New Jersey by two points for the last wildcard spot. Dale Tallon has been long searching for that extra top-six scoring and he should smell the blood in the water and attack now. 

The price, however, would still be high still. You’re looking at a high pick or two and a combination of a roster player (probably a defenseman) and a prospect. Some players possibly going back Columbus’ way could be Brandon Pirri or Alex Petrovic, but that’s pure speculation as of now. 

This cannot be a move Florida (or any other bubble team) waits until late February to do. Albeit Johansen is locked under contract one more year after this, the teams in need of him need him right away. You’re taking a risk off the ice, but the on ice rewards could be huge. Johansen could use a change of scenery (and coaches) to boost his moral and play a little bit as well. His relationship with Columbus has been strained since his lengthy contract negotiations with them in the summer of 2014. 

This dilemma is only adding onto the long and tiring season of the Blue Jackets, who sit at the bottom of the league. Things need to be sorted out soon or tensions will continue to rise. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: Defensive Addition 

It’s hard to find a solid, NHL defenseman on the trade market before the deadline, let alone this early in the year. However, some options are there. Teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Carolina Hurricanes are looking for help on the blueline amongst others. None of the names available are flashy, but they can get the job done for any team desperate for help. 

The “biggest” name on the market as of today is Dennis Wideman. The 32 year old can still put up points with 56 last season and 6 assists in 12 games this season, but his contract is scaring other teams off. His teammate Kris Russell has also been linked to trade talks. Russell lead the league in blocked shots last year and is on good pace to do so this year again. Whether that’s indicative to Calgary’s play or Russell’s individual play, nobody will know unless a trade happens. 

Bob McKenzie also reported the other day that the services of Luke Schenn, Roman Polak, and Matt Carle are available for the right price. Schenn and Polak could be moved later in the year, but Carle is an interesting name. He’s been brutal this year for the Lightning but they are still a win-now team so the price could fluctuate for a guy like him. It’ll be interesting to see how his storyline progresses over the year. Carle has two season left on his contract after this year at 5.5 million per, which will significantly decrease his value if he doesn’t pick up his game. 

The Jets also have an abundance of defensemen. Dustin Byfuglien won’t be traded until later this year, but players such as Paul Potsma and Grant Clitsome (although he is currently hurt) may be in play. Clitsome is entering into the final year of his deal and Potsma has one year remaining after this season at a reasonable price. Neither player has seen any in game action this year which could scare some teams off. If it comes down to it, the risk would be worth taking because they don’t have the contractual issues some other options do. 

As the season progresses, we’ll get a clearer look at the standings to see who needs help and who doesn’t. Although it might not be for a defenseman, also keep an eye out for Anaheim and Ottawa to be exploring on the trade market soon. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Jackets Sit Struggling Bobrovsky Again vs. Islanders 

After starting 0-6-0, the Blue Jackets have started to weigh their options. There’s not much on the trade market and it still may be too soon to fire Todd Richards, so they’re turning to the root of the problem which has been goaltending. Sergei Bobrovsky hasn’t been able to stop a beach ball, which largely could be due to the lackluster defense in front of him. Regardless, Curtis McElhinney will get his second straight start tonight.  Read the rest of this entry

Jagr Traded to Florida, Clarkson to Columbus in Big Turn of Events

Well, general managers certainly don’t seem content on waiting until Monday to make trades after all? After a flurry of activity yesterday afternoon, today, by some grace of god, took the cake. Both Jaromir Jagr and David Clarkson (do you believe in miracles?) were traded, igniting what appears to be a fire sale for both franchises. Dave Nonis managed to partially erase the mess he started, and did what many people thought was to be impossible in trading David Clarkson.
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Should Columbus Waive the White Flag?

This NHL season is almost 1/5th old, which is hard to believe. The dreaded Thanksgiving mark is approaching, a time in which GMs have stated that if you are not on the bubble for the playoff race, you don’t have a great shot at making it in April. For teams like Buffalo, Carolina and Florida this could be expected, but one team in particular sits at the bottom of the league, only ahead of the aforementioned Buffalo Sabres, and it is not what they were expecting. The Columbus Blue Jackets.

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