The Columbus Blue Jackets may be enjoying their All-Star break but it doesn't mean the speculation has to end for us.
The team has done surprisingly well yet up until this point in the season, but they will still need reinforcements down the stretch. The strength of the organization lies in the defense currently, so the Blue Jackets should be pursuing forwards to bolster their scoring power (or lack thereof).
Here are three forwards that the Blue Jackets should be targeting as the deadline approaches:
This should be the top priority for the Blue Jackets at the deadline. Kovalchuk was released by the Los Angeles Kings and was subsequently signed by the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 3. Kovalchuk is making next to nothing with the Canadiens salary-wise and anything Montreal may receive via a draft pick will be valued as found money.
Considering that the Blue Jackets have only one pick within the Top 100 for the 2020 NHL Draft and it is a first-round pick, Columbus may only have to give up a mid-round pick for Kovalchuk. That type of value for that type of player should excite the Blue Jackets and allow them to acquire a plug and play forward like Kovalchuk, who is on pace to hit double-digits in goal-scoring every season he's played in the league.
Similar to Kovalchuk in that you won't have to do much to coach him up, you could place Jean-Gabriel Pageau anywhere in the top-nine and he should thrive. Pageau, like Kovalchuk, is set to be a free agent this summer.
The issue with Pageau is that the Senators will likely value him higher than what he is likely worth, as he's performing like a big fish in a small pond. So, trading a pick this year wouldn't be in the cards for Columbus and you would be trading future assets. Is the production worth the possible cost? That is a decision for the Blue Jackets front office that they need to consider.
Always a possession stalwart, Tyler Toffoli is a player that could be seen as a forward that already fits the Blue Jackets defensive mantra. Consistently undervalued due to the more prominent players on his team, it remains to be seen how he is weighted across the league (and for the Los Angeles Kings). It will be a proverbial fire sale for the Kings this season after performing below expectations again.
Toffoli wouldn't be the most flashy pickup but could provide value in the middle-six that could solidify the team and move players into proper spots in the lineup. That could pay dividends for a club that doesn't want to rock the boat too much.
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