The NHL trade deadline is quickly approaching, and with it comes speculation on who could be moved – or who could be added.
TSN's Frank Seravalli recently published his list of the top 20 trade bait pieces and Josh Anderson is among them at No. 19. Alongside Anderson, Ryan Murray could be a prime candidate to be moved at the deadline.
The Blue Jackets would be dealing from a position of strength, as they have one of the most deep groups of defensemen in the league. John Tortorella has 9-10 players he can shuffle in and out of the lineup and with there only being six spots on a nightly basis, it's hard to keep everyone happy. On the other hand, Columbus is in desperate need of offense – which leads to the natural conclusion that a swap of defense-for-scoring could be in the making.
This year's trade deadline is Monday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. ET.
While it's never easy to find a trade that fulfills all the needs and is fair to both organizations, the Blue Jackets have plenty of space to make the move for much-needed goal scoring. With $6.1 million in cap space and only one glaring need, this could be the perfect time to move players with value, like Anderson and Murray.
Anderson and Murray have had much different seasons in regards to production, but both have been hit with the injury bug and find themselves on the outside looking in. The prospects and AHL call-ups like Gavrikov, Stenlund and multiple others have produced at a respectable pace and proven to be NHL ready, leaving formerly indispensable Anderson a likely trade piece.
There's also the issue of Anderson's pending contract negotiation (he's a restricted free agent at season's end), and well, the last round of discussions was anything but a cake walk.
Despite spending a decent chunk of his career to this point on the injury list, Murray is still widely believed to be a serviceable top-four defenseman around the league and could easily provide the defensive needs for teams looking to make a playoff push, much like the Vegas Golden Knights and the Florida Panthers.
The Golden Knights could be the perfect trade partner at the deadline, and it could present a situation that could be beneficial for both clubs. Vegas has multiple forwards that would immediately address the Jackets' issues, and some names that might make sense are Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault. They also sorely need help on the back end.
While a team like Florida would be a more difficult task due to cap restrictions on their end, having the cap space that Columbus does, depth in their respective positions and interest in players like Anderson and Murray continues to make the case that if the Blue Jackets want to address their scoring issues, this would be the best thing to do to ensure the organization continues to improve and makes another playoff appearance this season.