The Carolina Hurricanes made a pair of trades today, shipping out winger Jiri Tlusty and defenseman Andrej Sekera. The return that Carolina received for these players should act as measuring sticks when discussing potential trades involving two Blue Jackets who've been the subject of trade speculation.
The 'Canes received a 2016 third rounder and a conditional 2016 sixth rounder for Tlusty from Winnipeg, while the Kings dealt their 2015 first rounder and 2014 second round pick Roland McKeown for Sekera.
Tlusty and Atkinson are comparable in many ways:
1) Tlusty is 26, while Atkinson is 25.
2) This season Tlusty has scored at a rate of 0.43 points-per-game, with 13 goals. Cam is at 0.44 points-per-game, also with 13 goals. Last season Tlusty was at 0.44 P/G, while Cam put up 0.51 P/G. In 2013/2014, Tlusty had a career year at 0.79 P/G while Cam managed 0.51 P/G.
3) Both players have seen their scoring rates stay steady or decline over the past three seasons.
Jackets fans hoping for a second rounder or even a first can change their expectations. Granted, the closer we get to the deadline the prices tend to increase, but a third rounder and a low pick or low-end prospect should be the expected return if the CBJ were to trade Atkinson. I'm of the opinion that if that is the return, the Jackets are better off to keep him. With a strong finish to the season he should come close to scoring 20 goals.
Wisniewski and Sekera don't compare as closely, but one thing is clear: a player like Wiz has a lot of value right now.
1) Wiz is 31, and Sekera is 28.
2) Wiz' points per game for the last three seasons: 0.52 this year, 0.68 last year and 0.47 in 2013/2014. Sekera has put up 0.35 this year, 0.59 last year and 0.32 in 2013/2014.
3) Both players took a big leap last season, before falling back this season.
If the 'Canes were able to secure a first rounder and a recent second round prospect, the Jackets could expect to receive a similar return. It's been reported that the first rounder sent to Carolina is conditional on the Kings making the playoffs, it will be bumped to next year if they fail to make it.
This is a deep draft, so even a late first rounder is valuable. If a team like the Anaheim Ducks is interested in matching the Kings' move for a puck-moving blueliner, a package of their first rounder and a prospect like Marcus Pettersson (2014 second rounder) or perhaps even Emerson Etem (29th overall in 2010) makes some sense. Maybe the Blackhawks could send their first rounder and prospect John Hayden (third rounder in 2013) to the Jackets. If the Red Wings are in the mix, perhaps their first rounder and Tyler Bertuzzi (2014 second rounder) would get a deal done. Bertuzzi played with Kerby Rychel in Guelph of the OHL last season.
This is all speculation of course, but thanks to Carolina getting an early start on their deadline deals, we now have a better indication of what the Jackets could potentially receive if they were to trade Atkinson and/or Wisniewski. For the record, I'm not necessarily promoting these trades to happen, I'm just looking at comparables. In fact, I'd be against a Cam trade, if that's the expected return. I must admit though, if the Jackets can come close to fetching something similar to what the 'Canes got for Sekera, I could get behind a Wisniewski trade.
We'll know by Monday afternoon.