Are the Columbus Blue Jackets a good trading partner for the Edmonton Oilers?

They own the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, a surprisingly deep group of NHL defensemen, and their general manager learned his trade as an executive in Edmonton. Are the Columbus Blue Jackets a good trading partner for the Oilers?

I’d argue that the Blue Jackets are a legitimate trading partner for the Oilers, but that there’s at least one problem: the team has a couple of other pressing items on its plate.

They’re in the middle of trying to move the face of their franchise, Rick Nash. In a year with a weak free agent crop, Nash is bound to appeal to teams – he’s a 6’4” power forward with 30+ goals in seven of his last eight seasons. At last report fully one-third of the league was in discussing a trade with the Blue Jackets for his services, despite the fact that his contract runs until 2017-18.

Nash was the Jacket’s first overall pick back in 2002; might the first overall pick this year appeal to Columbus? According to Red Line Report, probably not:

If [the Blue Jackets are] going to lose Rick Nash, they’ll probably want to sell their fans on a talented young forward. But their recent history of drafting Russians at the top of the draft – Nikita Filatov and Nikolai Zherdev – might make them understandably leery of taking even Russians like Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko who have come over to play junior in North America.

Red Line goes on to suggest that the Blue Jackets might rather move down rather than up, and on Friday general manager Scott Howson confirmed that they had discussed moving down in the draft with other teams.

Between trying to move the most important player in the history of the franchise and trying to move down from the second overall position – a pair of deals the Oilers will have no interest in – Scott Howson is going to be plenty busy. Aside from the fact that he’s busy, the simple truth is that the return on those trades is going to alter the dynamic of his team in a significant way; Columbus might have very different needs coming out of those deals than they had going in.

If there is a trade between the two teams, it would likely see the Blue Jackets send away an excess blue-liner in exchange for help up front (a lengthy rebuild does not seem to be the intention in Columbus right now). The team may well add a good defenseman in the Nash trade, and they already landed Jack Johnson – while I’m personally not bullish on Johnson, Jackets’ beat reporter Aaron Portzline described the club as “smitten” with his work – and the surprisingly impressive Nikita Nikitin in trades last year. Those players join a defense corps that already features reliable veteran Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin, Marc Methot and 2009 first round pick John Moore. The Oilers were reportedly interested in Methot in the period leading up to the trade deadline, though with the acquisition of Nick Schultz that presumably is no longer the case.

Still, the Blue Jackets have a logjam on defense, and one that might get bigger if and when Nash gets dealt. If the Oilers are trading with them to alleviate that problem, the logical target is Fedor Tyutin. Lowetide wrote about Tyutin two months ago on this site, and his wrap-up then is equally applicable now:

Fedor Tyutin is perhaps the most attractive option we’ve looked at so far in this series. He has good size for an NHL defenseman, is mobile and adept at moving the puck. He’s been healthy (this season aside, he broke his right hand earlier this month and is out indefinitely). He is signed to a long contract, could come into the organization and serve as a legit top pairing option and he could also mentor some of the youngsters coming along. The price tag would be heavy, but the Oilers have picks, prospects and young NHL players in abundance. This might be a very good match for both sides.

Tyutin would be an ideal fit for the Oilers in all areas. His cap hit is a very reasonable $4.5 million, he brings things to the table that the Oilers need in their organization, and above all else he’s a very good NHL defenseman. Columbus may not be willing to move him – and if they’re only interested in dumping their depth defenders it’s hard to believe the Oilers would be interested – but given what the Colubmus blue line looks like right now and their obvious needs up front it only makes sense for the Oilers to ask.

If Tyutin isn’t an option, James Wisniewski or Nikita Nikitin might be. Neither is as ideal a fit for Edmonton’s needs, but both would represent an upgrade on what’s currently in the system.

This week by Jonathan Willis

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Willis

    We are on the same page. I left Garrison off based on a link to Staples article in ON last week.

    I realize getting a solid veteran D via free agency is far from a slam dunk and you are correct, with every UFA that gets signed by his team, ala Jackman, the number of fish in the pond goes down.

    I guess the question is – would waiting until after July 1st to look at a deal for Tyutin, or someone of his ilk, be compromised or make it considerably more “expensive”? Or would it be a wash once all but the successful of the Nash Hunters are disappointed? ie Hemsky’s trade value would presumably be higher as well.

  • The Soup Fascist

    At last I see people on the Tyutin trail . I said to go after him months ago (trade deadline) but for Hemsky straight up .He is the type of “D” we need right now and not in 3-4 years . Love Hemsky but you have to give to get and it might take someone like Plante with Hemmer to get him .Then you just pick Yak and you have Gags , Hall & Yak ; RNH , Eberle & MPS or Smyth . Getting Tyutin takes away need of Murray and we await Klefbom , Marachin , Musil ,etc .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hey Paul..

    You’re right about Tambellini, his lack of ability to make tough decisions could be his downfall during his time here. He must be looking over his shoulder now with MacT looking over everything he’s doing. Can he really be this short sighted, or is he just waiting for the right time to punch that accelerator?

    How’s the new digs, is it everything you hoped it would be?

    Hope the weather’s fine, enjoy the summer.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    off topic, and previously talked about, but if Evander Kane is on the block, Id be on the phone with Hemsky or PRV, Hamilton, and the 2nd round pick as bait to get him here.

    The guys on the Score were talkin about Kane and possibly wanting out of Winterpeg, got me thinkin.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ BurkeTheTurd

    That’s a good question Turd. I know some people would turn their nose up to him because he wouldn’t single handedly turn our defense (let alone our team) around.

    But I’d certainly extend an to him, because I’m confident he’d be better then at least a few of the guys we have now, and he’d be nice insurance for if/when Whitney goes down.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    @ OB1 & Crash

    I have to agree. He won’t be an all star but having depth in a position a team is weak at can’t be a bad thing.

    He is no saviour but nothing wrong with Oilers D fighting for roster spots.

    What do you think Crash?

    • Crash

      No to Scott Hannan.

      And why do so many people have this appetite for Fedor Tyutin? So much so that they want to give up on Paajarvi and/or trade Hemsky for him?

  • I’m optimistic that Tambellini will get something done, I tend to agree with Quick on this.

    Time Is running out on Tambellini, he knows this. He also knows he cant trade the first pick. He’s going to try really hard to land Murray.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see, Jones-Bunz-Gernat-Hemsky and Paajarvi available to the jackets for that 2nd pick and Tyutin.

  • I like TUG’s trade except I think you can do it without giving the first.

    Just spitballing here.

    CBJ to TOR – Nash.

    TOR to CBJ – #5 pick plus Kadri and Scheen, plus a prospect.

    EDM to CBJ – Hemsky – Paajarvi – Gernat – Jones and possible Bunz.

    CBJ – Scheen or Tyutin plus # 2 pick or # 5 pick.