Does Tarasov make Elvis expendable?
The month of March ended with an exciting and uplifting victory over the Lightning. Hope springs eternal...or so they say. April's disastrous start should signal the start of a (mini-) rebuild. If Jarmo and the front office recognize that now, there could be a much improved product on the ice this time next season.
Guys with expiring contracts:
This is a tough one for me. I like Nick, he embodies what I think about as essential hockey. He can score, he sticks up for his teammates, he plays in the dirty areas, skates both ends of the ice...but has his time passed? I don't think his time has passed completely and I do think he would re-sign for a hometown discount to stay in Columbus. With his salary, trading him would not return much, maybe a low round draft pick. He could then be signed as a free agent in the off-season, but that is never a guarantee.
He served his purpose on this team and JK should let him take a playoff run with a contender. Again, return isn't going to be big, but worth getting something as his role could be filled by one of the youngsters.
His salary is about average with a $4.25M hit. He doesn't contribute points, but his is a quintennial stay-at-home defensemen. He blocks shots and does the grunt work the corners and in front of the net. He will be of interest to a team looking to solidify their second pairing. Not sure the CBJ will get much higher than a 3rd round pick, but that ain't nothing.
Michael Del Zotto
Surprise, this guy can still play. His value is in his on-ice work ethic and low salary cap hit. Not going to be a super return, but for a low-risk-high-reward off season signing, Jarmo will get an unexpected dividend.
He's not going anywhere and won't be returning to the Jackets line up, maybe not to an NHL line up at all. Sad that it all ended this way, maybe he will find his way back onto a roster next season.
Surprisingly that is all the UFA (NHL rostered) players on the squad. But there are some RFAs that may hold interest and significant value.
I thought we would see him get more skating time this season but for whatever reason he has not. Mismanagement? Maybe. Not quite ready? Possibly. Either way, I don't think teams will be willing to give up what JK would ask for him. Likely skating in the NHL for the Union Blue next season.
He is 24 years old, skated in 26 games and has 10 points this season. He is a solid 3rd liner for anyone who is looking. Problem with Stenlund in Columbus is that the Blue Jackets have a lot of guys that do the same things he does. Not that the ask will be huge, but he is an asset that could be moved.
Untouchable...that seems to be the general reaction when he is mentioned. But is that the case? He has 4 goals in 36 games and a total of 12 points. He may not have been given a very good opportunity to succeed. A player worth keeping? Absolutely. Untouchable? Not exactly. There would be offers to consider, but my money is that he skates with the CBJ next season in an expanded capacity. Would he return a 1st rounder + and NHL roster player? That is a possibility, but without speculating about specifics it's hard to believe JK would trade him.
This is a very interesting situation. Two young, high-profile players from the same draft were disgruntled with their current team. Each got what they wanted, a ticket out of town. Neither have lived up to the hype with the new team. In 28 games PLD has 15 points while Laine has 17 points in 31 games. At least the Jets are positioned to make the playoffs. Laine is also on a 12-game goal-less streak.
Laine has talent, that is for sure. He seems to need a centerman to create opportunities for him, which Columbus doesn't have right now. There is also talk that links him to the LA Kings. That would seem more like an off-season move as LA is also in 7th in their division.
The problem for a team in the playoff hunt is what they would have to give up getting him. Teams don’t want to subtract from their roster during a playoff push, they want to add. Exchanging pieces doesn’t have the impact that adding pieces does. Laine would return a significant amount of futures.
Laine should net a decent return but...
What if Tarasov makes Elvis expendable? Using my expert player evaluation skills, I see that Elvis has greater potential than Korpi. We may not have seen Korpi's best yet, but that is a different conversation. Tarasov has made his move to North America and it is simply a matter of time before the CBJ give him a serious look. If JK decides he wants to see him in action this season, Elvis could be moved in the off-season. With that as a possibility, could trading Elvis land the center that Laine needs? Couple that with a likely coaching change and there is the possibility that Laine would want to stay in Columbus.
I'm just thinking out loud and there are a ton of IFs in the previous paragraph. The off-season goalie market was hot last summer/fall and most of the 'proven' goalies that moved didn't pan out so well. Will teams looking for goaltending shift their focus to goalies with 'potential' this off-season? Elvis could have better-than-average value in that regard. He could be packaged with draft picks or other roster players and return a #1 center. Let the Jeff Carter deal be a cautionary tale...not all players who get traded are happy with their new destination.
Race for the first pick in the NHL draft
Buffalo, Anaheim, Ottawa, Detroit, New Jersey, LA, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas all have 36 or less points. Detroit and Columbus have played more games than the rest. Buffalo has 22 points in 37 games (ouch). I'm not sure if they keep records like this, but Buffalo only won 1 game in March and secured only 4 points in 16 games. Is it a possibility that the Oilers knew what they were doing when they traded Hall?
Good Luck and GO JACKETS