Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/01/13 at 09:04 AM ET
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
They have plenty of trade fodder, beginning with the usual suspects: veterans such as winger Vinny Prospal, 38, who has a no-movement clause, and defenseman Adrian Aucoin, 39. They are classic rentals. Also, there is goaltender Steve Mason, 24, who may yet thrive in another environment. Somebody is going to take a shot with him. Somebody should.
Will anyone take the contract of defenseman James Wisniewski, who carries a $5.5 million cap hit through 2016-17, or that of winger R.J. Umberger ($4.6 million through 2016-17)? On the off chance the Blue Jackets can rid themselves of such contracts, do they not try?
The Jackets also have youth to offer. They have 19 players on their roster who are under 30, and 15 who are 25 or younger. It behooves management to listen to pitches for any of these young men, with two notable exceptions: Ryan Johansen, 20, who has the potential to be a No. 1 center, and Sergei Bobrovsky, 24, who could be a No. 1 goaltender. The Blue Jackets have been waiting forever to fill these critical positions.
Beyond issuing their standard phrases, Davidson and Kekalainen did drop hints about the way they are thinking.
Davidson pointed out that the salary cap is about to drop from $70 million to $64.3 million, and there will be teams that need to cut salaries this summer. That will make for a more robust trade market later rather than sooner.
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