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NHL Trade Deadline 2011: Now is the Time

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Now is the time to make a move. "Now" as in, today or tomorrow. If I were GM Scott Howson, I would be doing everything in my power to make a move before Friday's game at home against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Coyotes are one of the few teams hotter than the Jackets right now, going 8-2-0 in their last ten games and sitting on top of the Pacific Division.

The Jackets have been reportedly interested in a number of players, but in a very active couple weeks leading up to the deadline, many of the big names have been moved. Scratch off Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin, and Alex Goligoski from your lists. The Fourth Period mentions that the Jackets wanted Goligoski, potentially offering a deal around Voracek.

But that's all in the past. Right now, Columbus sits two points out of the 8th and final playoff spot, but only four points out of 5th place. Last night against the Predators was a big test, but Friday night against Phoenix will be the biggest test yet.

A move now to bring some more energy could help to avoid a let down on Friday night. It could also give the Jackets some more firepower for Sunday's rematch against Nashville. And with the way the trades have come in so far, who knows who will even be left on Monday at the deadline?

Here are the players The Fourth Period links the Jackets interest to:

  • Ales Hemsky, RW
  • Zach Bogosian, D
  • Stephen Weiss, C
  • Jim Vandermeer, D
  • Wayne Simmonds, RW
The biggest need is on defense, and while grabbing Bogosian would be great long-term, the price is likely too high. I'm also not sure Vandermeer actually address a need on the backend.

As I watched the game last night, it really struck me again how someone like Shea Weber impacts a game. During the third period when the teams were playing 4-on-4 hockey, Weber moved around the offensive zone with the puck and was a constant threat, creating space for his teammates because you just have to respect his cannon of a shot. The Jackets need that, and if they get that, it could shoot them from a playoff maybe to securing one of the better 5/6 seeds.

In Mike's post on improving the blue line, he mentions some names including John-Michael Liles, Joe Corvo, and Dennis Wideman. I think all of these names make sense in the right deal. With Colorado looking to be on a slight rebuild, Liles could make the most sense if the price is right. He also mentioned Jordan Leopold, and although the Sabres are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, they're 5 points out, so maybe they would consider a deal.

Kurtis Foster is another name he mentioned, and I came up with a bit of a mock deal involving Foster in my post examining player value with Filatov, Hueslius and a pick going to Edmonton for Dustin Penner and Foster.

Ultimately, Scott Howson and the Jackets will be buyer's with the team this close to the playoffs in such a good position, and whether a move is made now or closer to the deadline, the team has to do everything in its power to avoid a letdown on Friday or Sunday. I would also consider it a letdown if we see even more of these names get snatched up in the upcoming days and get stuck in a bad position with little room to negotiate.