On to the stretch run.
The Columbus Blue Jackets can officially be labeled as "buyers" at this NHL trade deadline, adding three established NHL players to aid in their push for a second consecutive playoff berth (would be the first time in franchise history).
Here's a rundown of the trades they made...
2018 4th-round Pick for Mark Letestu
Former Blue Jackets center Mark Letestu returned to Columbus in a three-team deal. The Nashville Predators sent Pontus Aberg to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Letestu, then the Predators received a 2018 fourth-round pick for Letestu from the Blue Jackets.
Letestu gives the Blue Jackets depth up front and a bit of a boost to a pretty weak special teams tandem. Jarmo Kekalainen also likes his locker room presence and his familiarity with the organization.
2020 3rd-round pick and Nick Moutrey for Ian Cole
In another move for depth, this time along the blue line, the Blue Jackets sent a 2020 third-round pick and forward prospect Nick Moutrey to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Ian Cole.
Moutrey has been in the Blue Jackets' minor-league system for three years, scoring six points in 22 games with Cleveland this season. Cole averaged 17:37 TOI for the Penguins this season with 13 points in 47 games. The 28-year-old was a first-round pick (No. 18 overall) of the St. Louis Blues in 2007 – a draft that took place here in Columbus at Nationwide Arena – a team led by president John Davidson and that had Kekalainen in charge of amateur scouting.
Jordan Maletta for Ryan Kujawinski
In a swap of minor league forwards, the Blue Jackets sent 22-year-old center Jordan Maletta to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for 22-year-old center/right wing Ryan Kujawinski. Kujawinski is a former third-round pick with 37 points in 115 career AHL games.
Tyler Motte and Jussi Jokinen for Thomas Vanek
Veteran forward Thomas Vanek, a consistent 40 to 50-point player, is heading to the Blue Jackets in exchange for veteran Jussi Jokinen and young center Tyler Motte.
Vanek has 41 points in 61 games this season for the Canucks, despite averaging just 13:58 on the ice. Perhaps most importantly for the struggling Blue Jackets' power play, 18 of those 41 points came on the man advantage. Vanek is now the Blue Jackets' second-leading goal scorer (tied with Artemi Panarin) behind Josh Anderson.