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Potential Blue Jackets on the Move as we near the Trade Deadline

There is no doubt that the Blue Jackets will be sellers when the trade deadline comes, but who are the likely candidates to be moved?

Columbus are 3rd to last in league standings with a 10-21-2 record and 22 points. The Ducks (22 points) and Blackhawks (20 points) are the only teams lower in the standings. With one of the worst power plays in the league and an ever growing injury list, it seems unlikely that this will change. 

There is no doubt that the Blue Jackets will be sellers when the trade deadline comes, but who are the likely candidates to be moved?

Gustav Nyquist (RW, LW)

At time of writing, Nyquist is 6th on the team in points (6-10-16) and is one of just 4 players to appear in every game this season. He is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. It makes sense that playoff teams would be after a rental like Nyquist, who has rarely been out of the lineup since the start of last season and can slot in on either wing. 

His cap hit is $5.5M AAV and his pro rated cost at the deadline will be a fraction of that. 

Joonas Korpisalo (G)

Korpi, along with the rest of the goaltenders, has had more downs than ups this season. In 13 games played, he has a 4-5-1 record with a .905 save percentage. Not great, but could be worse. 

I don't see Korpi playing an active role for a playoff team, but he could be carried as a 3rd string goalie in case of an injury occurs to someone further up the depth chart. The Blue Jackets did this with Keith Kinkaid during the 2018-2019 playoff run. Although Kinkaid was never called upon, the Jackets still gave up a 5th round pick in that situation. I see Korpi going for a similar price. 

Vladislav Gavrikov (LD)

The prize possession for the Jackets heading into the deadline. The defensive defender is on the last year of his contract and will improve any team. His defensive awareness is high, allowing him to intercept plays or close down players. He can also contribute a bit offensively as he is 2-7-9 in 33 games this season. Sure, it's not a strength but don't discount his ability to pick out a pass or find the back of the net. 

Gavrikov will be one of the biggest trade targets in the league this year. Getting a late first round pick should be the goal. 

Other possibilities:

Jack Roslovic (C)

The Columbus native had a slow start to the season but has picked up his point production as of late. In 30 games he has registered 3 goals, 15 assists for 18 points. Roslovic's production has come in spurts since his arrival. 

He's under contract through next season with a $4 million AAV. The key question here is if management sees him as part of the team post rebuild. If so, what could a contract extension look like?

If the club does want to move on, getting draft picks in the loaded 2023 draft may be a driving factor. 

Liam Foudy (LW, RW)

Foudy is a former first round pick in the 2018 draft but has been unable to find his footing in the lineup. He has only appeared in 17 of the possible 33 games this year, only because of him being healthy scratched so often. With him requiring waivers to be sent down to AHL Cleveland and him only earning 3 assists in the NHL this year, the club is in a predicament. 

Foudy would be a reclamation project for another team and the change of scenery would probably do him well, but is Columbus ready to move on from the 22 year old and what kind of assets could the club get back? Surely nowhere near the value of the first round pick used to acquire the winger. I don't know what will happen, but something has to give. 

With any of these outgoing moves, Columbus has the ability to retain salary (especially on the expiring contracts this season) to beef up any potential negotiations. The Blue Jackets will surely acquire a few more picks for the upcoming draft and it will be exciting to see what new faces join the organization or the follow up moves made with those picks. 

Don't lose faith Jacket's fans. 

Travis Jones

Thursday, December 22, 2022

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