It feels like each and every day for the Blue Jackets is filled with a different rumor. I mean, look at First Ohio Battery right now, there are a lot of different reports coming out about what the team is doing and not doing.
One report that has been reiterated over and over again is the fact that Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones will be traded at some point this summer. The most recent report says that the Blue Jackets will be looking to part ways with him closer to the draft.
Depending on which reporter, writer, or fan you talk to the Blue Jackets are somewhere between a full-scale rebuild and a tinkering of sorts before next season. So what would be considered a win for the Blue Jackets if they do part with Jones?
It does not matter if it is a forward, goalie, or defenseman, the Blue Jackets need to beef up their prospect pipeline quickly. Taking a look at it now, it is scattered with some Russians and a couple of late-round draft picks that show some promise. For the most part, it is barren.
When talking with the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, and the other prominent organizations tied to the Blue Jackets, they need to have a starting point that links them to the Alex Turcotte's and the Kirby Dach's of the world. They obviously want to have the opportunity to win now but they really need to get a marquee prospect that could jump into the top-six at a moment's notice. Heck, they could even take someone like Adam Boqvist from the Blackhawks and it would be a major win as well.
Getting a top prospect will allow for all other prospects below the player to mature in a timely manner. The issue teams with no prospect pipeline run into is rushing a player to the league before they are ready and then every part of the process can be done normally.
This can give someone like Liam Foudy more time in the AHL if they decide to go that route and similarly they don't have to rush someone like Yegor Chinakhov to the league if they don't deem him ready. The pipeline can easily get back to a good spot if they get the right piece.
Similar to the marquee prospect, the draft capital portion is going to be crucial for any trade. The three draft picks the Blue Jackets have in the 2021 Draft is all well and good but who knows what is going to happen to those draft picks in the days and weeks ahead isn't known. They can be flipped or packaged for something bigger.
The Blue Jackets have traded their picks in the past for immediate talent and for the most part it hasn't come back to bite them. For a scouting GM like Jarmo Kekalainen, having more in your holster is never a bad thing. The more first-round picks the better and it will only make the Blue Jackets more versatile in the short and long term.
This is a tough want considering the contract situation for Jones. If he is part of a sign and trade, then it would only make sense for the Blue Jackets to demand an NHLer in return. Despite what the numbers and the current narrative around Jones are, the reputation is likely going to net you a big haul especially if you can get him on a team-controlled deal.
Names like Adrian Kempe for the Kings are tantalizing and would immediately add another young forward to the mix that needs rejuvenation. This isn't a must-have and frankly, I would only expect this in return if an extension for Jones is already in place. The guarantee of only one season may be enough to turn off clubs from giving up a piece like this.
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