The Columbus Blue Jackets have made a flurry of moves that could make them perfect trade partners with the Montreal Canadiens.
Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen hasn’t missed a beat this offseason, quickly injecting experience into his blue line over the last week.
After the acquisitions of Ivan Provorov from the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-way deal, and Damon Severson in a sign-and-trade from the New Jersey Devils, the top-4 seems pretty clear for the Blue Jackets moving forward.
Added to the likes of Zach Werenski and Erik Gudbranson, a once barren defensive corps is now overloaded right shot-shooting defencemen, which could be of serious interest to the Montreal Canadiens.
As of this junction, the Blue Jackets have Severson, Gudbranson, Andrew Peeke Adam Boqvist and David Jiricek with legitimate NHL ability, and Corson Ceulemans also just turning pro this spring.
It’s a perfect storm in Columbus, as Jiricek looks primed to take a roster spot this fall, which could make a player like Adam Boqvist expendable; and an interesting proposition for the Canadiens to pursue.
After their flurry of moves, the Columbus Blue Jackets only have $5.8M in cap space, and they’ll likely want to maximize that space to fill their most dire need at centre this offseason.
Moving a player like Boqvist, who is on a $2.6M contract over the next two seasons, could help give them further flexibility for moves, while also making room for a player like Jiricek to crack the lineup.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be able to help the Blue Jackets fill their void at centre, but they certainly have the assets to make such a move to pry Boqvist out of Columbus.
The 22-year-old defenceman showed interesting potential last season, especially after the injury to Zach Werenski, as he put up five goals and 19 assists for 24 points in just 46 games.
Bringing in Provorov and having Jiricek knocking at the door to the NHL will surely limit most of Boqvist’s potential offensive utilization and push him further down the lineup, whereas, in Montreal, he could likely hold down a consistent top-4 role while getting interesting offensive usage on the second wave of the power play.
The cost to acquire him might not be too high, especially if the Canadiens take on his full salary and send futures Columbus’ way to help them in their quest to acquire a top-six centre.
Having a player like Boqvist, who fits the age range of the Montreal Canadiens’ current core of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach could be yet another piece of the puzzle; another buy-low candidate that general manager Kent Hughes could target in order to further solidify a position of need in the short and long term.