On Tuesday The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported that teams are inquiring about the availability of 26-year-old center Vincent Trocheck of the Florida Panthers. While the asking price would certainly be high for a young center that can produce, it would be in the Columbus Blue Jackets' best interest to seriously consider making a move for Trocheck.
One thing the Panthers are in desperate need of is help on the blue line. As it stands, the Panthers have the third-worst defense in the NHL, allowing a shockingly bad 3.36 goals-per-game, even with two-time Vezina-winner Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes.
This plays into the hands of the Blue Jackets, who undeniably have one of the deepest pools of defensemen in the league.
In another article from The Athletic, fans tweeted in their trade proposals, and one of them that makes complete sense for Columbus would be to move Markus Nutivaara, Adam Clendening and Sonny Milano for Trocheck. While Nutivaara might not be having the hottest season of his young career, he would still slot in nicely to the top four of the Florida blue line. His "down" year would also help with his asking price.
My latest trade deadline Rumblings notebook. Items on Kovalchuk, Trochek, Simmonds, the DeMelo and Dillon trades plus more:— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 18, 2020
As for the other two, Clendening, who has spent much of this season with the Cleveland Monsters, would add depth to a very slim Florida back end. And as for Milano, that would just be to sweeten the pot a bit for the Panthers. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but now might be the time to finally move on and "sell high" on a young forward that seems to be (at times) perpetually out of favor with head coach John Tortorella.
As for Trocheck, he would address a glaring issue that is a lack of depth at the center position for the Blue Jackets. The 26-year-old center has nine goals and 24 assists in 52 games this season. So while he might not immediately address an issue of scoring goals, if given the right linemates he would immediately slot into the top six for the Jackets.
To further the point that he is the right target, he is on one heck of a good contract. Trocheck doesn't look to be a free agent until after the 2021-22 season, and until then is only making $4.75 million per season. Adding Trocheck would only drop the Jackets down to roughly $4.4 million in cap space, which is plenty enough room to play around with.
As the trade deadline approaches and Columbus continues their slide down the standings, now is the time to make a move that would shore up the scoring and help secure a playoff spot. In comes Vincent Trocheck, who should undoubtedly be the main trade target ahead of the deadline for the Blue Jackets.
Follow 1st Ohio Battery