There have been rumblings and reports that the Montreal Canadiens and Blue Jackets are scouting each other as of late. Rumor has it that Montreal is interested in Klesla and Huselius, presumably if Columbus is out of the race at the deadline and becomes sellers. But the fact that, even an injured Klesla is drawing interest around the league, I have to ask - what values do various players on the team hold, and what could they bring in return?
The team is playing well right now, with a record of 6-3-1 in the last 10 games. Even with the possibility of the team being buyers 10 days from today, they may be able to move some lower impact guys to get some additional skill for the final playoff push.
Hit the link below and take a look at who I believe holds some value for the Jackets...
Rostislav Klesla - 45GP 3G 7A 10PTS +10
Prior to his injury, Klesla was playing the best hockey of his career. He led the league in +/- for much of the first half of the year, and made a really great pairing with Marc Methot. But the team has played so well lately, and the defensive pairings are starting to gel, that it may not make sense to rush Rusty back into the lineup once he is healthy. The emergence of Grant Clitsome and budding NHL star John Moore make this even more complicated.
As mentioned, the Canadiens are said to be interested in Klesla, potentially among other teams around the NHL. Montreal has some big injuries on defense, but they still have a lot of defenseman at the NHL level right now. That said, they are rumored to be interested in adding another shutdown defenseman for their playoff run. Klesla could fit that bill.
Names to look for in return: D Yannick Weber, D James Wisniewski, C Lars Eller
Sweeten the pot: LW Nikita Filatov, LW Kristian Huselius, D Jonathan Sigalet
Jan Hejda - 54GP 2G 11A 13PTS -4
I think Hejda is an interesting piece for a couple reasons. Even though most of his career has been playing for average Blue Jackets teams, he has a career +/- rating of +19. He was a key piece to the 2008-09 playoff run, in which he was part of a great top shutdown pair with Mike Commodore.
But ever since his first injury last year, he hasn't been quite the same. He hasn't been bad, but he was always a steady player on OK teams, like a David Vyborny. Lately, he seems to do everything he needs to do to just not get noticed.
I have to ask why Montreal would be scouting the Blue Jackets if their main interest is Klesla. Are they trying to gauge how good he looks in the press box? Most signs point to them wanting a shut down defenseman, which makes sense when you may have to face Alex Ovechkin, Marian Gaborik, and Sidney Crosby in the playoffs. Hejda could be their guy. I would look for a slightly worse return than Klesla since he is an unrestricted free agent this off-season. There are no indications that CBJ General Manager Scott Howson has any interest in talking to any of the teams' upcoming free agents.
Nikita Filatov - NHL 23GP 0G 7A 7PTS / AHL 18GP 3G 7A 10PTS
By and large, a disappointment. Filatov may still get his career on track, but it's that thinking that got the Blue Jackets stuck with Gilbert Brule, and then looking to move the player when his value could barely be lower. He hasn't really done as well as anyone would have hoped since being sent to Springfield, but he's mostly been off the radar, which is good. He also seems to be set on staying in North America and making a name for himself, which is another good thing. Now may be as good of a time as any to move him.
I would look for teams trying to rebuild, in particular a team we have a history of dealing with. The Edmonton Oilers have some good pieces, but they've clearly got a ways to go. Dustin Penner is rumored to be on the block. If I were playing fantasy GM, what about a move like:
To EDM: Nikita Filatov + Kristian Huselius + pick
To CBJ: Dustin Penner + Kurtis Foster
Mike Commodore - NHL 20GP 2G 4A 6PTS / AHL 8GP 0G 2A 2PTS
The Mike Commodore story. Where will he go from here? He has to have some value, it's the price tag that is the big hurdle. Yes, he was waived and no one picked him up. But a trade following a player clearing waivers has happened before. When he originally passed through waivers, teams were still likely evaluating where they were at, and were not ready or willing to add that salary and extra player to their roster, even at half price.
Things might be different now. Commodore still has some NHL hockey in him, I believe, it's just a matter of finding the right fit. A bubble team looking to add some grit and experience to their roster may take a chance on him.
What do you think? Who has value that could be traded without subtracting from the core that is currently gelling? If you were GM, would you be a buyer or seller this deadline?