It's TRADE week...and here is what has happened so far
The NHL draft begins Friday and the Jackets will not be part of day one, or much of a part of this draft at all, barring deals getting done this week. Here is their draft status as of today's writing:
3rd Round Pick #81
7th Round Pick #212
These will not be exciting picks and there is a high likelihood that the average fan will not know anyone past round 2, but the CBJ has had a decent track record in later rounds. Notable non-1st and 2nd round draft picks:
2015 6th Round Vladislav Garvikov (made NHL debut in 2019 playoffs)
2015 7th Round Markus Nutivaara
2014 3rd Round Elvis Merzlikins (IIHF Team Latvia - projected to play w/CBJ 2019)
2013 3rd Round Oliver Bjorkstrand
2012 3rd Round Joonas Korpisalo
2012 4th Round Josh Anderson
Okay so that is not a huge amount of late round success, but no list would be complete without mentioning the 2008 6th Round Pick: Cam Atkinson.
There is the opportunity for Columbus to create some excitement in this draft. It has been suggested that CBJ could make a trade to move into the 1st Round by taking on a player from another team with a high cap hit. This would be a guy like Loui Eriksson (VAN), Kyle Okposo (BUF) or Milan Lucic (EDM). Those teams all have top 10 picks and those players could be bought out. None of those teams would move those picks without something significant going the other direction. For C-Bus to do that they would have to be in love with a prospect that high in the draft.
It is also a pretty good bet that the Jackets will trade the rights to their many UFAs and possibly and RFA or two. These would not result in high round draft picks, unless there was a condition of the UFA or RFA signing. For example I could see the CBJ trading Panarin's rights for a 5th round pick with the condition that it turns into a 3rd if he is signed. Although given the short time before the draft those might be 2020 picks rather than 2019. This holds true for a host of guys on the CBJ roster right now. Restricted Free Agent value would be higher than UFA value given that a team would have more control over re-signing them. Here is a projected value for UFA/RFA trades (only speculative):
Panarin: 4th Round, Conditional 3rd
Bobrovsky: 4th Round, Conditional 3rd
Duchene: 3rd Round
Ryan Dzingel: 5th Round, Conditional 4th Round
Ryan Murray (RFA): 2nd or 3rd Round
Joonas Korpisalo (RFA): 3rd Round
Suitors for these players (the UFAs at least) could just wait until July 1 if they believe they have the best contact offer and keep their draft picks. But, by trading ahead of July 1 they get exclusive negotiation rights before the rest of the league. That has some value, but maybe not much with a guy like Panarin who has already said he is going to test the Free Agent market.
Things have been happening in the NHL over the last few weeks, so expect the Jackets to get involved shortly. Here are the significant recent transactions:
TRADE: Rangers get (RFA rights to) Jacob Trouba for Neal Pionk & 2019 1st Round Pick to Jets
SIGNING: Sharks Erik Karlsson 8 years $11.5M per year
SIGNING: Capitals Carl Hagelin 4 years $2.75M per year
TRADE: Blackhawks get Olli Maatta for 2019 5th Round Pick & Dominik Kahun to Penguins
TRADE: Capitals get Radko Gudas for Matt Niskanen to Flyers
SIGNING: Islanders Jordan Eberle 5 years $5.5M per year
SIGNING: Sabres Jeff Skinner 8 years $9M per year
TRADE: Flyers get (rights to) Kevin Hayes for 2019 5th Round Pick to Jets
SIGNING: Senators Anders Nilsson 2 years $2.6M per year
SIGNING: Islanders Brock Nelson 6-year $6M per year
As you can see things are heating up heading into the draft. Teams are signing their UFAs, making trades for UFA/RFA rights and shaping their teams up for next season.
Yesterday I discussed blockbuster trades and suggested that the CBJ offer up early round picks (multiple) as well as anyone not named Jones, Werenski or Atkinson for some top tier talent currently in the league. Some found it absolutely absurd while others proposed trades that had a chance.
If you were GM for the Jackets over the next 30-60 days what would you do? Who would you target? High draft picks in 2019, players already under contact, UFAs/RFAs?
If you target high draft picks do you want pick #1 or #2? Or would top 10 be your goal? What prospect do you have your eye on?
Do you target 'in-house' Free Agents like Bread, Bob, Duchene and Dzingel? Or go outside the roster for a big splash in a player like Pavelski, Mike Smith, Anders Lee or Gustav Nyquist?
How about RFAs? Mitch Marner anyone? Bring back William Karlsson? How about re-signing Werenski and Murray? These guys will all be expensive and those that don't belong the Columbus would require additional compensation to their current teams.
Whatever the CBJ target there are a ton of moving parts. No transaction this time of year is done in a vacuum. Each transaction impacts the next.
Should be a fun ride through mid-July.
Thanks for reading.