Does A Trade Market Exist For Jack Roslovic?

By Dan Dukart on February 8, 2024 at 1:45 pm
Cody Ceci tries to knock the puck away from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic is a pending UFA, and the team is well out of playoff contention.

Surely, a trade is in the offing, no? Maybe, but it's not that cut and dry. 

For starters, Roslovic, as skilled as he is, is not seen as a 'playoff' type of player. Second, his $4M cap hit doesn't make him an easy player to acquire. And in a salary cap-crunched league, that combination may be the beginning and end of the story.

To Roslovic's credit, he's played more consistently this year than in his prior seasons in Columbus. Unfortunately, that's a low bar. The knock on the 27-year-old has always been that it's difficult to project what type of game he'll bring on a night-to-night basis. Sometimes, that can be a good thing, and he'll pop. Often, though, he's the type of player that leaves you wanting more, particularly regarding his play away from the puck.

Injuries have been an issue this season, as the forward has played just 27 games, tallying a pedestrian 2-8-10. He started strong, with a 2-6-8 line in his first 14 games played, but was mired in a dreadful 0-4-4 slump in 21 games in November through January.

Then there's the contract. While it would be prorated, 20 of 32 NHL teams (per CapFriendly) have under $1M of projected cap space. Trading for an offensively inconsistent, defensively-challenged, relatively expensive player with a career 0-5-5 in 20 playoff games stat line is a hard pill to swallow, even if the Blue Jackets were to retain salary. 

On the other hand, Roslovic would likely cost relatively little to acquire. He's more of a distributor than a scorer, and when he's on his game, he's an effective player. I could see the Blue Jackets trading him as they did Max Domi, another pending UFA with a checkered past. The Blue Jackets dealt him in a three-way trade to the Carolina Hurricanes, eventually acquiring Aidan Hreschuk, an NCAA defense prospect with an AHL future (likely), in the deal. Like Domi, he can play both center and wing and chip in on a second power-play unit. He's comfortable skating the puck through the neutral zone, and when his game is on, is effective at defensive zone exits and offensive zone entries, both of which are useful tools. He's also incredibly shifty and can be tricky to defend in one-on-one settings.  

In a competitive playoff picture, the Blue Jackets have to hope that there is at least one GM who thinks Roslovic can slot in as a 3C or as a 'plus' depth piece that can play up and down a lineup, and ignore his obvious warts. Perhaps a team like the Hurricanes, the New York Rangers, or the Colorado Avalanche, who could push him into a lesser role, may see a fit.

Ultimately, the Blue Jackets would be wise to move on from the Roslovic homecoming experience. At this point, it's a matter of when, not if. 

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