Thank you, Montreal Canadiens.
On Tuesday, our new friends from up north traded a 2020 third-round draft pick (Washington's) and a 2020 seventh-round pick (Chicago's) for goaltender Jake Allen and a 2022 seventh-round pick.
Why are they our friends now? Because this trade just (unofficially) set the goalie market value for this offseason and into next season, and it was very much so in the favor of the Columbus Blue Jackets' current situation.
Jake Allen is a solid goaltender, don't get me wrong. But a few things about him make his swapping for a third-round pick a little odd.
First, he's entering the back-nine of his career by just turning 30-years-old. So his best years are likely behind him. Second, he has been a backup goaltender the past season and a half to Jordan Binnington. Lastly, he has a 4.35 million cap hit this upcoming season, which isn't very cheap, which will also be the final year of his current contract before he becomes a UFA.
Now, it's not the worst deal ever for a Habs team that has an aging Carey Price, so we're not here to slam the Canadiens. We're here to thank them for giving up a third-round pick for an older, somewhat-pricey backup goalie, meaning what the Blue Jackets could get for one of their budding goaltenders in a trade would be...a lot better than a third-round pick.
Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins beat out Allen in essentially every category. They're four years younger, they both ranked near the top of the NHL in multiple statistical figures this past campaign, and they both proved they are ready to be a starter between the pipes in any city, carrying a low-scoring Columbus team for various stretches throughout the regular season.
On Sunday, there was a report from Sportsnet that the Blue Jackets are looking to deal one of the youngsters for offensive aid if the price is right, as they rightfully should. And now, the Blue Jackets have a bar to show teams who make offers for Korpisalo or Merzlikins.
In its simplest argument, if a team wants Korpisalo or Merzlikins, it's going to take a lot more than a third-round pick. These two have shown real flashes of franchise goaltender potential, and will now demand an even bigger return than what they previously likely had.