Bjorkstrand Seattle Bound for Laine Money and Draft Picks
Update— 5:00pm EST
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken have completed their first ever trade in franchise history. The details are as follows:
For the Kraken, this turns the picks from Calle Jarnkrok and Mason Appleton into a scoring winger in Oliver Bjorkstrand. Bjorkstrand has 4 years remaining on his deal at $5.4M million dollars a season until the 2026-2027 season. Bjorkstrand had earned 234 points in 382 career NHL games all with Columbus (111 goals, 123 assists). This past season, Bjorkstrand had led Columbus in goals (28) and second in points (57) on 80 games. It may be the first of several moves to facilitate team need and cap space for the Jackets. As it stands, here is a projected mock-up of the lineup:
* means pending RFA
This still a young offense and provides the kids a continuous opportunity to grow in Columbus. Draft capitol does not hurt, though the loss of the leading goal scorer does. Short term, this is a cap move for Columbus and a win for the Seattle Kraken.
Treat him right!
The Laine Deal!!
The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended winger Patrik Laine to a four year extension worth $34.8 million dollars with a modified 10 team no trade list according to Aaron Portzline of the Athletic. This marks the AAV for Laine at a cap hit of $8.7M dollars a season until the 2026-2027 season, the same time as newcomer Erik Gudbranson; winger Oliver Bjorkstrand; and captain Boone Jenner. Below is the salary payment for the newly extended Laine:
As it sits right now, Columbus is $6.358M million dollars over the $82.5M million dollar salary cap for the beginning of the 2022-2023 NHL regular season according to CapFriendly.
This means a lot of different things for the Jackets’ current makeup as it stands.
1. Who is leaving?
The most obvious answer to the faithful is Gus Nyquist, which is really unfortunately unfortunate for the perseverance he has gone through with Columbus. After bouncing from Detroit to San Jose for a short playoff run, to wanting to sign with Columbus, he has been with the team through his injuries and the pandemic. Seeing limited time in a shortened season, he led the league this season in short handed goals with Alex Barkov (Florida). The bottom of the cap teams are Anaheim, Arizona, and Buffalo. For as much pain as this is to write it, Alexandre Texier at $1.25M for a 2017 second round draft pick could also help push the deal in a more realistic hockey trade or package. Daniil Tarasov or Joonas Korpisalo could have salary buried in the minors, so long as they pass through the waiver wire. One of Jake Bean or Vladislav Gavrikov could be moved for a cheaper and more physical defender as well, as that seems to be the Jackets’ biggest priority over a pure number one center.
2. What are the line combos?
While we have been given nothing from Larsen, Kekalainen, Davidson, or anyone in the organization, the feeling from what seems to be out there is to let the kid shine first with the stars. Therefore, after a quiet rookie season, expect the first line attempt to be Cole Sillinger centering Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine.
Additionally, imagine a five forward power play of Jakub Voracek and Zach Werenski at the point, Boone Jenner in the slot, Johnny Gaudreau circling with the puck, and Patrik Laine in the Ovechkin wheelhouse. Talk about cannons.
If Sillinger fails in the 5v5 attempts, there’s also Jack Roslovic and Boone Jenner to help test the strength. Long term, I see it being Boone with his versatility and strength. May not be ideal to have a full skill line.
3. Is Laine worth the contract?
Yes. The skill he possess has earned him that. He’s a pure goal scorer, and that is what he needs to continue doing to live up to the new deal. He is a superstar. A number two overall draft choice in 2016, he has more to add to his resume.
4. Does this team make it to the playoffs?
Wild Card talk. Not division. The Eastern Conference is evening out between the weak and strong teams with the flat cap. There is not a night to miss anymore, unless your Montreal. Then, there’s a few years of pain to go.
5. What is Columbus in the market for?
Defense. Big, strong, heavy, physical defense. The signing of Gudbranson is the piece that called for it. However, more is being done to add to this. There is a lot of youth and puck moving on the backend. Zach Werenski, Jake Bean, Adam Boqvist can all move the puck. Andrew Peeke is still going. Vladislav Gavrikov is an unknown after this season. Marcus Bjork is a rookie on North American ice. Nick Blankenburg and Gavin Bayreuther are the middle of the pack guys. David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk, and Stanislav Svozil have work to do. Goaltending is the last worry.
6. How can I find out more?
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