Personally, I don’t remember a trade deadline for the Columbus Blue Jackets that’s had this much talk around it.
The team currently sits just one point out of the final wild card spot and will no doubt look to add a significant offensive piece. Add on the chatter about a potential Rick Nash return, Jack Johnson’s request for a trade out of Ohio and rumours about Boone Jenner’s future with the team and there’s no shortage of storylines.
Out of the three, the last one makes the least sense to me.
Jenner was taken 37th overall by the organization in 2011 and it would be fair to say that he hasn’t become the prominent offensive piece that the organization once hoped he’d be. The 24-year-old has played in 315 games during his NHL career and only registered 144 points, 15 of those have come this season.
He doesn’t have a history of scoring at the NHL level and the Jackets need offense, but still, I believe it would be a mistake to trade Jenner at this point.
Is he struggling this year? Yes. But he’s also shooting at a very low percentage. His career shooting percentages are: (12.6%), (10.8%), (13.3%), (8.5%) and now, (4.1%). He’s generating offense just fine when I watch him play, I just think he needs to get some fortunate bounces.
It’s also worth noting that I don’t believe that Jenner is a play who can drive his own line, I think he’s more of a complimentary player. I think if he had a chance to play with elite offensive producers on a more regular basis, he might find more success on the scoresheet.
If the Jackets are set on giving the Dorchester, Ontario native a fresh start there is one type of move that I would consider and it’s swapping Jenner for another young player with RFA status. Think along the lines of Max Domi or Ryan Strome as potential fits.
The bottom line, trading players during bad years simply isn’t smart asset management and it’s not a route I believe will help the Jackets compete this year or next year.
PHANEUF FOR GABORIK
Last night, the Senators began their expected strip down sending Dion Phaneuf and 75% of his massive contract along with Nate Thompson to the LA Kings for Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore.
For the Kings, this gives them a chance to add a veteran defenseman, but I don’t like the deal for them. With Derek Forbort and Jake Muzzin already on the left side, it seems like Phaneuf may slot into the third pairing role. Add to the fact that Forbort and Muzzin are both relatively young and Phaneuf still has three more years left on his deal, the Kings added a $5.25 million third-pair defender.
On the surface, this feels like GM Rob Blake adding a player simply because he plays tough, gritty hockey. It doesn’t make a lot of sense from a contract perspective and I don’t think Phaneuf will be a $5.25 million defender for the Kings.
The flip side of this is that they did unload Marian Gaborik’s contract, so the difference is really only $375k on the cap. In that sense, it looks like they just swapped a bad contract that was in an area of strength to a bad contract in an area of weakness.
For Ottawa, this shows the organizations mindset. They kept a little bit of Phaneuf’s contract but got rid of $5.25m and in exchange, they had to take on struggling veteran Marian Gaborik. On the surface, Gaborik has a cap hit of $4.875m, but his actual salary drops to around $3 million in the final two years of the deal. That’s less money coming out of Eugene Melnyk’s pocket and I think that will be the teams’ strategy going forward.