As the trade deadline approaches and the Columbus Blue Jackets oscillate between wins and losses, they have a lot of tough decisions to make–and soon.
They only have a select few players in the last year of their contracts, and with Riley Nash getting hurt, the list gets smaller and smaller.
Now, they're staring down an awkward conversation with captain Nick Foligno. He obviously will be given plenty of runway to make the decision he wants, and if possible, ensure he's moved to a contender that needs him (if that's where the conversation goes with GM Jarmo Kekalainen).
Here are three teams that make sense for a Nick Foligno trade:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Of all teams on the list, this one has the most smoke around it. We've seen a couple of reports from Canadian outlets saying that the Maple Leafs are circling the veteran forward as a target. Frankly, it doesn't seem like the fit that others on the list might be.
The Maple Leafs are strapped for cash and are already up against the cap, and would need something significant going back the other way for it to work. They also already have a fair amount of veterans in their lineup. If anything, Foligno may be a redundancy with someone like Wayne Simmonds in the lineup. It could happen, but the Maple Leafs may have to make a dramatic move to get it across the goal line.
It would be an embarrassment of riches if the Avalanche ended up adding Foligno to their roster. They already have offensive firepower all throughout the lineup, but he could join the likes of Matt Calvert in Colorado and see significant time in the bottom six.
The Avalanche are definitely going to be contenders in the Western Conference, and they are going to need all the help they can get as injury spats have put some players on the shelf. Given salary cap implications and the number of picks they have at their disposal, this feels like a smart move and a match for both sides.
The Panthers were mentioned in my Savard piece about destinations, and they just check enough boxes for them to bring in anyone. They have cap space, they have a young back end and front line to really bring in a veteran presence to make a difference.
Foligno would immediately be greeted by some familiar names and faces. Putting him on the third line would be a no-brainer, and would guarantee that a veteran presence would be in the bottom six. It really just depends on how much they want to go for it this year and prioritize this team for a long playoff run.