The Fuse: What Kind of Player Should the Blue Jackets Target in a Trade?

By Rob Mixer on December 29, 2017 at 6:00 am
Dallas Stars center Radek Faksa
Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports

You may have heard this, but the Blue Jackets need a center.


They're losing players to injury like the Resistance during its evacuation from D'Qar.

(Ok that's a bit of a stretch, but my life is a series of Star Wars analogies and it's the closest I could get).

Nick Foligno is back at center, Lukas Sedlak is playing more minutes and Jordan Schroeder is up from Cleveland, all in an effort to try and take some of the head off super-rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, who's anchoring a line that's the only source of offense for the Blue Jackets right now.

While Dubois is a great story, the Blue Jackets want to make sure their story continues into April, May and hopefully June. They can't guarantee that right now, of course, but while they wait for Brandon Dubinsky and Alexander Wennberg to recover, it's becoming clear that they need external help. 

They don't have a ton of trade chips, so any potential deal will be tricky. Player-for-player seems like the most logical route, but at what cost? The Blue Jackets can't subtract too much from their back end while Ryan Murray is out – but the emergence of Markus Nutivaara has relieved some stress – and trading a forward from their active roster doesn't just doesn't seem to add up.

Thankfully for me and the purpose of this piece, the difficult part is Jarmo Kekalainen's job. I'll just throw some names out who might make sense, reason why they're potential fits, and we can sit back and see what happens.

Who says journalism isn't fun? 

In the words of Maz Kanata, "let's get to it."


Oh, Brass. His name has been coming up a lot lately, including Thursday when he was absent from practice in Ottawa. "Maintenance day" was the word but that's used in a variety of circumstances; could Brassard be traded soon? Absolutely. The signs point to the Senators entering cost-cutting mode in what's become a lost season, and a guy making $5 million on a team going nowhere is a prime candidate to be moved.

Here's the catch (though it's admittedly a minor one): Kekalainen traded Brassard to New York in 2013 as part of the Marian Gaborik deal, in what felt like a "changing of the guard" move. Brassard would be a great fit with this Blue Jackets team, though, and wouldn't have to log the major minutes that were required five or six years ago. The cost would be high as with any skilled center, but this is a guy the Blue Jackets could get a lot of mileage from.


Where Brassard has one year left on his deal, Bozak is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He's not a flashy name and isn't getting younger (he turns 32 in March), but Bozak could be a serviceable stop-gap to help the rest of the season – especially when the Blue Jackets are banged up like they are at the moment. He's a 35-to-45 point guy when he's going, and with 19 points in 36 games so far this season, he's right on pace for something in that range. Compared to Brassard, the cost would be lower and there's less of a financial's just a matter of whether the Leafs are willing to part with a center when they're in playoff contention. 


I'll admit: this one is probably unlikely, but I really like the player.

Faksa is clearly the youngest player of the three mentioned here (23) and was a first-round pick of the Stars in 2012. He didn't become a full-time NHLer until 2015-16 when he played 45 games, but since then, he's blossomed into a do-it-all forward that gives the Stars quality minutes and an offensive boost.

He's off to his best goal-scoring start yet with 10 goals in 37 games, only two short of his previous career-high (12) set last season. Faksa isn't a pure scorer by any stretch, but he's a solid, reliable player who can provide quality in all situations and has an offensive touch.


I saw The Last Jedi for the sixth time last night.

It gets better every time.

That's all.


  • Elliotte Friedman asked Jarmo Kekalainen if he knows what his team needs to win it all. His response?
  • Sergei Bobrovsky had some rough outings in December, but the numbers don't tell the story.

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