Turns out that Jarmo knows when to sell. And he is very good at it. In three moves this weekend the CBJ have begun selling off expiring contracts for picks over the next two drafts. Here are the trades:
Columbus acquires: 2022 7th Round Draft Pick
Toronto acquires Riley Nash
I was not sure there would be a market for Nash and honestly, something is better than nothing. I like that he gets a chance to prove his worth on a playoff team. This is a feel-good trade for a guy who fills a role and will have an opportunity to win.
Columbus acquire: 2021 1st Round Draft Pick and 2022 3rd Round Draft Pick
Tampa acquires David Savard (CBJ retain 50% of salary)
Not bad for a guy drafted in the 4th round. He was the most tenured defensemen, having played the most games in franchise history on the blue line. While his stats never stood out, his performance always did. His goal against the Lightning in 2019 sparked a sweep of the President's Trophy winners. He will become a free agent at season's end. Hate to see him go to Tampa, but a great pick up for the Lightning.
Columbus acquires: 2021 1st Round Draft Pick and 2022 4th Round Draft Pick
Toronto acquires: Nick Foligno
This is a tough loss. He embodies what it means to be an NHL captain. He plays for his teammates, in the corners, dropping the gloves and scoring timely goals. He was a first-round draft pick of the Senators and acquired by Columbus for Marc Methot. Figgy will be a free agent in the summer and there is the possibility he could come back to Columbus, although not likely.
In total the CBJ sent 3 expiring contracts (Savard, Nash and Foligno) out and in return netted 5 draft picks. They will now have 3 first round draft picks in 2021. In 2022 they added 3rd, 4th and 7th round picks. Those 2 additional 1st rounders will certainly be low round picks, the CBJ will likely have a top-10 pick of their own.
Columbus may be done with trade deadline deals as Del Zotto and Grigorenko are the only NHL rostered UFAs left. Zach Dalpe could be considered an NHL-roster player at this point too, I guess. Bigger deals for RFAs or players with term would likely be in the off-season. While Texier, Stenlund, Laine or one of the goalies could be moved, what the CBJ want in return would not be available until after the playoffs end.
Is this a rebuild?
This question swirls around the CBJ front office and will have an impact in signing players with shorter term contracts. Jones, Kukan, Domi, Jenner and both goailes are set to become UFAs after 2022. Further, you have Laine, Texier, Roslovic and Werenski as RFAs either this summer or next.
With 2022 rostered players like Jones, Werenski, Gavrikov, Bjork, Domi, Cam, Roslovic and Jenner, it doesn't feel like a rebuild. At this point they will have their goalie tandem intact too. Add in the return of Nyqist and this team could be right back in the mix. Signing RFAs Laine and Texier should be the top priority along with inking Jones (likely next CBJ captain) to a long-term deal.
The question of what to do between the pipes?
Elvis Merzlikins. Joonas Korpisalo. Daniil Tarasov. Are any of these guys the answer? Say what you will about Bob, but when he was here goaltending was never a question. Smart money would see one of the three get traded, probably in the off season and not today.
Daniil Tarasov is not likely to be moved. He is young, unproven, on an entry contract...
The NHL can see potential, but he hasn't skated on NHL ice yet. No one would be willing to pay the price for potential they have not seen yet.
Joonas Korpisalo spent years behind Bob and now has his chance to take over the starting spot. He hasn't been overwhelmingly great, but solid. His contract is favorable at $2.8M through the 2022 season. He will need protection in the expansion draft.
Elvis Merzlikins has the most value. While his NHL sample size is small, it has been impressive, especially with how this CBJ team has performed this season. He does not need to be protected in the expansion draft, that is value that NHL GMs should not overlook. JK will ask a high price for him, especailly since he acquired 1st rounders for Foligno and Savard.
Putting on my GM hat...
What kind of NHL world do we live in when Foligno and Savard each return a 1st round pick but Taylor Hall retruns a 2nd? I don't know much about the other players in the trade, and that may balace it out, but it just looked odd.
In the off season, if it were up to me (and it's clearly not) I would look for my #1C. Packaging some of the draft picks that were just acquired with one of the goalies and Texier could land you that center. But who would be available? McDavid - not a chance. Leon Draisaital, I wouldn't do it if I were EDM. Auston Matthews, unlikely. Nathan MacKinnor, surely not. Crosby wouldn't play well with the CBJ fans. Mark Scheifele? Maybe. Aleksander Barkov, FLA is winning with him. As I look down the list of top C, I wonder why their teams would part with them.
Realistic possible targets could include Scheifele, as the Jets have an abundance of talent down the middle, Kopitar, although his age and contract price tag may be prohibitive, Ryan O'Reilly if St. Louis were willing, and Ryan Strome or Mika Zibanejad. There are some choices and with a wealth of assets, it may just come down to how much Jarmo is willing to spend.
As an alternative, would Jonathan Toews be available? He was out this season with a medical issue. Not sure if he has solved it or if he will even be back, but that could be an interesting fit. Three things concern me, 1) Salary cap hit, 2) Age (he's 32) and medical issue 3) would he want to leave Chicago (see Jeff Carter trade). He would be a short-term fix, could fill that captain role and may mesh well with Laine.
Should be a fun trade deadline…
Good Luck and GO JACKETS!