The deadline to complete all trades is tomorrow afternoon at 3:00pm ET, and there's a good chance that the Blue Jackets roster could have a very different look.
We've heard lots of chatter about Scott Hartnell and Fedor Tyutin being available, with other names like Kerby Rychel, Rene Bourque and Gregory Campbell being tossed around as well. In the estimation of many CBJ fans, the ideal objective for this deadline is to shed salary, clearing the way for the team to sign Seth Jones, Boone Jenner and William Karlsson, and to give the team more financial flexibility going forward.
Some current Blue Jackets who may or may not be on the move tomorrow:
I think it's clear that most of us don't want Hartnell to be traded for performance reasons. He's been the most consistent forward since coming over from Philadelphia, and he plays a physical style that fans love. Sure, there's the bad penalties, but you get that with a player who plays on the edge. The reality is, given his age and years remaining on his contract, the wise business decision would be to sell high. If the Jackets were a playoff team he'd be the perfect player to lead the team on a run, but with the Jackets out of it they should get what they can before his game falls off.
I recently wrote about how Cam is the most important forward on the team. Given his contract and production, the only way the Jackets should move him is if a team is willing to massively overpay for him. Jarmo Kekalainen would have to be left with no choice but to accept this offer. He's worth more to the Jackets than anything they could get in a trade tomorrow.
Bourque's contract expires at the end of this season, making him a rental candidate for a contending team. His numbers don't show it, but he can still contribute in a depth role, showing that he still has speed and creativity. He's played primarily on the fourth line limiting his opportunities, but in exchange for a late round pick he can help a team.
He's signed for one more year with the Jackets, but he could be attractive to playoff-bound teams for his 'Cup-winning experience alone. He's the true definition of a grinder, and is the kind of player who's game elevates in the playoffs. Could a return to the Bruins be in the cards?
Is the bridge between Rychel, his agent and the team burned since his reported trade request, or is he part of the future? He's been a fourth line fixture for a bulk of the season, but still has the potential to be an impact power forward if given an opportunity. If he can be dealt for a prospect with similar upside, this could be one of those "change of scenery" deals that benefits both teams. Would Rychel + be enough to get Jonathan Drouin out of Tampa? Not likely, but it's a fun thought.
He's got experience and has shown recently that he can keep up with the pace. Teams looking for a top-four defenseman who makes few mistakes will be intrigued by Tyutin. There's been talk of Detroit, but Boston makes sense as well. With the money left on Tyutin's deal some financial creativity may need to happen to make certain deals work.
I was hard on Prout earlier in the season, and he's still prone to mistakes, but one thing is absolutely certain - he's one of the toughest players in the league, and he's building a reputation as somebody to fear thanks to his dust ups with Milan Lucic and more recently Chris Stewart and Ryan Getzlaf. He's an RFA at the end of the year, but if a team is looking for an intimidator to give them a leg up in the playoffs, a trade could happen.
We're not really sure if Goloubef's at 100% post-surgery, but he's definitely in John Tortorella's doghouse. Rather than slide him in the lineup when Jack Johnson was hurt, the team called up Michael Paliotta for the game, sending him right back down after. Goloubef is a right-handed shot with offensive ability, and seems like the ideal candidate to be packaged with somebody in a deal.
Though a handful of trades have already happened, I expect the league to be busy tomorrow. In addition to the Jackets, there are some really interesting names out there that could be dealt. What will the 'Canes do with Eric Staal? With the Blues actually move their captain David Backes? Kyle Okposo could be a difference maker if the Isles decide to move him. Loui Eriksson seems like the key rental still available, while Radim Vrbata and Mikkel Boedker can change the fortunes of a new team.
We'll have coverage of anything the Jackets do tomorrow, so stay tuned!