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

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There’s been a whole lotta nothing but top 10-15 picks for the Bluejackets for 20 yrs now. Obviously they haven’t done well at the draft table. I can’t believe they’ll knock it down and start from scratch again in Columbus.

    If the Oilers could land another pick somewhere in that 8-12 range in exchange for Gagner and Peckham, you might have a shot at netting that second overall pick from Howson.

    Somethings going to happen this week. Tambo will finally move heavan and earth to get Murray as well as Yakupov. Spice it up a little and give Scott the right to swap 1 firsts in 2013. This is the year NHL 2K12 becomes reality boys.

  • The Soup Fascist

    What makes Tyutin a better option than Wideman, Carle, etc who could be UFAs that could be picked up without giving up anything, other than cash? Will either of these guys be a lot more than $4.5M?

    I realize you may not be able to sign either them in good old E-town, but I would wait for a “whiff” on July 1st before offering up a good roster player and / or a higher draft pick for Tyutin.

    Not that I mind Tyutin, just saying I would prefer to get that type of player without giving up an asset of value – all things being equal.

    • I’m highly skeptical of the Oilers’ ability to land a top-four defenseman via free agency.

      Barret Jackman re-signed in St. Louis today. That reduces the list of UFA defenders under the age of 35 to play 20+ minutes/game in the NHL last season to six players. One of those six is Brad Stuart, who will sign in California. Another is Ryan Suter, who will almost certainly not sign in Edmonton. Another is Jason Garrison – a guy I very much doubt the Oilers have a shot at.

      That leaves Wideman, Carle and Scott Hannan in a marketplace with a rising salary floor and more than a few teams in need of quality young defenders. Some teams will settle for guys like Michal Roszival and Filip Kuba, but not all of them will.

      If the Oilers can land sure quality via trade, I’d have no hesitation about doing it.

  • vetinari

    I’d rather see a deal with Toronto for Schenn + Franson. And swapping 1st rounders. I would then take Galchenyuk or Grig’s whoever was still available at the 5th slot. Although this does not address the need for a top 4 d man.. The talent pool just bubbling under the NHL level is D heavy. And I believe our 2nd line center slot needs an upgrade for us to eventually compete for a stanley cup.

  • vetinari

    Wild idea on a 3- way trade:

    Edm to Col. – Hemsky, Jones, and Belanger
    Col to Edm. – Nash

    Edm to Tor. – Nash, and Potter
    Tor.to Edm – Gardiner, Colborne/Kulemin

    I am banking on the fact that COL. is more in need of forwards , therefore Gardiner being the key player from Tor would not be as attractive to Col. Tor. is dying to get Nash and would probably give up Gardiner to get him via Edm.

    Edm. getting Gardiner might be the ticket to also get Schultz.

    • Columbus is said to be looking for two roster players and two good prospects in exchange for Nash. So a trade would be more long the lines of Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi and Klefbom for Nash.

      I’m not even sure that would get it done.

      Nash is going to come dearly if he’s moved, and I can’t picture a scenario where it makes sense for the Oilers to be at all involved, even as a middleman.

    • That’s sort of the idea I have kicking around the back of my mind. I’d be sorry to see Hemsky go – I seem to rate him a lot higher than most Oilers fans these days – but (and again, depending on what CBJ ends up getting for Nash) I wonder if that could be the nucleus of a deal. Columbus certainly needs some offense if they’re planning an instant rebuild while simultaneously moving Nash.

  • vetinari

    Jonathan,

    What do you think of Erik Johnson, his price tag & his availability? I’m not sure he’s going to become what everyone thought (franchise d-man), but he’s likely still going to be a really good d-man long-term.

    Friedman has mentioned in the past that he sees Colorado potentially dealing Matt Duchene. While he would interest me, maybe there’s a deal with the Leafs there revolving around Duchene/5th OV…? Then… maybe a flip of 5 & Johnson for 1 & ‘x’?

    Crazy talk?

    • Is Johnson available? I haven’t seen his name popping up with any particular frequency in rumours, and with Quincey gone I don’t see why the Avs would move him so soon. I could be wrong on this, but I’d be surprised if Colorado had much interest in moving him.

      As for Duchene, I wonder. Colorado would be nuts to move him, but with Stastny and O’Reilly maybe they feel they have enough up the middle. Still, in Colorado’s shoes if I started the day with Duchene and Johnson and ended it with Yakupov I really wouldn’t be that happy. It’s possible but I think that sort of scenario isn’t especially probable, personally.

      • No, I haven’t seen anything specific about him being “available”. But I’d think he’d be an interesting target, RFA and all (be it by trade or by offer sheet). How much do you think Johnson gets, and would you be willing to overpay him to get him?

        Obviously, this particular scenario would depend on how high they are on Yakupov & if they’re actually considering moving Duchene. But say you could get 5 & Schenn for Duchene & something & then Yakupov & Gagner/Paajarvi/Petry for Johnson & Galchenyuk/Rienhart/Murray. Is it worth considering on any end? Would 1 & Petry for 5 & Johnson make any sense to you? Just spitballing here. Also, as an aside, I would have the Avs in on former Pioneers D Matt Carle. Point being, with no 1st & plenty of moveable young assets, I could see the Avs pulling off some major shockers… or not.

        • In the Oilers shoes, I wouldn’t consider any offer sheet that included a first round pick, so I don’t see that as a viable route (plus, Colorado has virtually unlimited cap space).

          I like Johnson a lot, but I can’t see Colorado trading him in-division; there’s just way too much potential of that coming back to hurt them.

          • Really? You’d be hesitant to do an offer sheet with Johnson giving up 1st, 2nd, 3rd a la Penner? Even if Oil had a pick in the 5-15 range, chances are Johnson’s better. And having Johnson likely means that pick will be lower than it would be without him. Would you not trade the 10th overall pick for Johnson right now if you could? I understand the scenario is a longshot within division and all.

  • vetinari

    Would Paajarvi and Omark’s rights spring Tyutin away from Columbus? Or is Columbus generally avoiding Europeans right now? If so, what about Eager and a sweetener (our 2nd rounder, Jones, Plante or Peckham)?

    It’s not like we can spare all of our physical players, but we need to give something to get something back and checkers are generally easier to replace than scorers, defencemen or goalies. And I’m sure that Columbus is sold on the idea of using Nash and their 2nd overall pick to restock their offense and secure a reliable goalie.

    I’ve always liked Tyutin and think he would be a great compliment to Smid on the backend. He’s got a physical edge, plays the game with “calm feet”, and can move the puck.

  • Bob Cobb

    Tutyin, would ge a good choice as a trade. Skill, age, and salary would fit the bill.Hemsky would have to be going the other way? Weisnewski,is a bit older,bigger salary and brittle. Would not chasing Ericcson , Carle or Wideman for similar money, without giving up assets make more sense. Tutyin as a NMC , but would probably pay to leave Columbus as this point.

  • Only consider trading first round pick for a marquee player , which leaves out Jackets defencemen . Nash is the only marquee player they have , and the only name on that team worth considering . Swapping with Colombus and tweaking on our part could land us Nash and Murray . Not bad , but passing on Yakupov is iffy even at that .

  • I’d rather take my chances on Yakupov at the Rookie Max for 3 years than Nash at inflated numbers until the next Ice Age.

    I dont think they’d give up any of the other players I covet in their system and on their team. I think it’s destined not to happen.

    I think the Habs have a better shot of being a trading partner.

    Out of Conference, still in the Lotto, New Management, Fan base clamoring for something to happen.

    I just want them to keep the pick and choose Yak.

  • Bob Cobb

    The Oilers should only trade with the Jackets if they can get the 2nd overall. Would Paarjvai, Gagner, and the Oilers pick at the beginning of the 2nd round be enough to get the 2nd overall or an overpayment? Thoughts.

    This trade I can see would benefit both teams equally. The Oilers could get Yakupov and Murray, or possibly Galchenyuk, who I would take ahead of Murray, thats another discussion, and give the Jackets two young forwards and another high prospect from the 2nd round.