Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Trade Deadline and the Jackets - What's coming?

While we can only guess at what GM MacLean might be planning, chances are good that some trades will be made within the next two weeks. The NHL trade deadline is February 27 at 3pm EST.

Just about any player is able to move, but the ones that are most likely to leave Columbus are the Unrestricted Free Agents. Modin, Carter, and Berard all have this status, meaning that at the end of the season they are free to sign with any team of their choosing. Given that all three of these players are pretty solid, chances are good that another team will be able to bid higher than Columbus will. If MacLean thinks that they're going to leave, it is to his advantage to trade them away now in so that he gets something in return. Otherwise, those players can walk without Columbus getting anything for them.

Despite the fact that no Blue Jacket appears on TSN's rumor list, there has been talk of teams such as Carolina, Pittsburgh and Vancouver, all of which need an extra boost into the playoffs, wanting to pick up Carter. Tampa Bay has expressed interest in Berard, but his slow recovery from his back surgery makes his potential trade unlikely to happen until the last possible moment.

According to a Dispatch article, seven teams had scouts inside Nationwide for Sunday's game. Detroit, Colorado, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and both New York teams all sent staff to check out the Blackhawks and Jackets for potential pick-ups.

Since the Jackets' season is pretty much shot at this point, and the only thing left to do is try to irritate as many teams as possible by making them work their way into the playoffs, we can be assured that there will be a few trades through Columbus. I do hope that MacLean makes a substantial effort to keep some of these guys though. I would love to retain Carter in particular, and Modin is a great player who knows how to get to the cup (no wonder other teams want him). But most importantly, MacLean needs to be conscious of what Hitch needs to create a winning team- that is, who can work with his system and who cannot.

I'll be keeping an eye on TSN's Trades page, and let's see what the team looks like at the end of February.

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