Columbus Blue Jackets Trade Chips Star In Complete Win Over New York Rangers

By Dan Dukart on February 26, 2024 at 1:45 pm
Jack Roslovic celebrates his goal against the New York Rangers
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets' gutsy win over the New York Rangers was catalyzed by an early fight, stellar goaltending, and an odd-man rush goal.

Or, if you're acting GM John Davidson, by a number of potential trade pieces.

As teams jockey for depth in the playoffs, fourth-liner Mathieu Olivier turned heads by handily defeating Matt Rempe in a fight for the ages. The 27-year-old's $1.1M AAV salary is on the high side for a player with little production, but with one year remaining, he could be a trade target for a team looking to add snarl and depth.

Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was exceptional, stopping 39 of 41, including a flurry of saves late in the third to preserve the win. Against a team like the Rangers, who boast an elite power play and have won 10 straight, Merzlikins' emphatic performance could be all a contending team needed to see to convince them to step up for a trade.

The game-winning goal was scored in transition by Jack Roslovic. The 27-year old showed how proficient he can be in transition, using his speed to create separation on a perfect seam-pass from Johnny Gaudreau.

The lead was extended to 4-2 on a beautiful rush/transition play that saw Roslovic pull up and find a trailer in Ivan Provorov, who beat Jonathan Quick clean with a shot to the low blocker.

Roslovic, the club's sole pending UFA, could be on the move in the coming weeks. He was excellent last night, using his high-end skating to his advantage, and showing the patience and vision required. It's this type of play that could make a believer out of a team looking for middle-six complementary scoring.

Provorov, meanwhile, has one year remaining after this on a $4.75M contract. The Blue Jackets may not be looking to move him, instead hoping its young defense corps - namely David Jiricek and Denton Mateychuk - can push veterans out of their way. With players like Zach Werenski and Damon Severson signed long-term, and someone like Erik Gudbranson signed for somewhere in between (through 2025-26), is there room for Provorov long-term? If no, and a trade presents itself now, perhaps it would make sense.

Sure, the Russian line was exceptional last night, and none of those three forwards are expected to be on the move. All are young and pending RFAs. But much of last night's win can be attributed to players like Merzlikins, Olivier, Roslovic, and Provorov. And for any scouts who happened to be watching, the hope is that they're convinced that these players can help their respective teams immediately. 

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