Whose on the block? Potential Trade Candidates
As we continue to dissect the Blue Jackets roster, today we will take a look at potential trade candidates. Next season is a long way from now so I fully expect GM Howson to explore every option to improve his club. Trades do happen in the offseason but mainly on draft weekend, once free agency opens GM’s mainly focus on trying to improve their team without giving up assets. So come draft weekend which is only 21 days away, I expect Howson will discuss the possibility of moving overpaid Fredrik Modin and oft injured Raffi Torres to other clubs. These players will most likely only fetch draft picks at most on the open market.
Teams will pass at the motion of acquiring a 34 year old veteran in Modin; who has seen his game decline due to injuries. In the last two seasons Modin has only been able to suit up for less than half of the team’s games (73). During this time his numbers have dropped to a mere 15 goals and 37pts. Freddie is scheduled to make 3.25 million next season and will most likely find himself on the end of a buyout from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Paying that much money for a player who can no longer play in your top six does not make sense. Modin may be granted a tryout with another club if he shows up in good shape and not injured. If not he will probability return to Sweden to be closer to his family and play in the Swedish Elite League.
Raffi Torres came to Columbus in exchange for at the time highly touted prospect Gilbert Brule. To date, that trade has been a complete wash as neither player has never really panned out they way each team envisioned. Torres is a former 27 goal scorer that plays on the edge and Brule was projected to be a top six forward that can score. As it turns out Brule has found himself mainly in the minor’s leagues and Torres spent a good portion of last season on the disabled list due to injury. Raffi a former 5th overall draft choice of Long Island is set to earn 2.25 million next season. His does hold some trade value, but it would be wise for Howson to hold on to Torres for the time being and hope that he has a bounce back year.
With Rick Nash’s set to expire following next season, Howson has to do everything possible to make his captain happy. Would acquiring top flight center men for the big winger help? Most likely, but at what cost? Do you sacrifice this year’s 1st round pick and a few prospects to go after a Jason Spezza or Patrick Marleau? Spezza’s monster contract is due to kick in this year, so the Sens would have to be ready to take salary back if they decide move him. Now we all know San Jose’s story, great regular season team but this team always falls apart in the playoffs. I believe they are in need of a huge shake up and one of their core players will be moved. Seeing as they just acquired Danny Boyle and with Michalek & Thorton signed long term, the obvious option would be to deal Marleau as his contract also expires next season. Would this make sense though from Columbus’ perspective? If they were to acquire Marleau without having him sign an extension prior to the trade, which would mean that him and Nash would both be unrestricted free agents next year.
Let’s take a look at both players.
- 25 years of age
- Contract expires 2015 (will be 31 or 32 when the contract ends)
- Averages out to a cap hit of 7.0 million
By acquiring a player of Spezza’s stature you receive a consistent 85-100 point a year player that would be entering his prime at the same time as Nash. Another bonus is that he is signed long term so you do not have to worry about him leaving anytime soon. It may be easier to pull off a trade with Ottawa as they are in the other conference so these two teams will meet once a year. Howson or Ottawa GM Bryan Murray would not have to worry about former players coming back to haunt them. With that being said though Ottawa did show drastic improvements down the stretch and may decide to hold on to their star center.
- 29 years of age
- Contract expires next season
- Makes 6.3 million next season
Now let’s take a look at Marleau, he is a savvy veteran that has played his entire career in San Jose. He is a former 1st overall pick that has hit the 30 goal plateau 3 times in his career. Right now with him being in San Jose and Joe Thornton around; the team has been in limbo. Whose team is it really? Joe or Patrick’s? Let’s say Marleau finds his way to Columbus, we all know that this is Nash’s team and he is the main voice in the dressing room. Marleau would probability thrive is a situation like this, no longer would he have to be the face of a franchise and have to answer the constant questions of why the Sharks can’t win in the playoffs.
A trade for either player would be gigantic for the Blue Jackets. The prospects of having Nash and a true number one center together would be lethal. This would not only help the team on the ice but off the ice. It would give Nash more reason to sign an extension long term to stay in Columbus if he had a true running mate. Coming up I will put together potential trade packages that could land a true number one center for the Jackets. And hey what ever happen to former Jacket Mattias Timander?
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