On multiple levels, this is intriguing.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are the NHL's most captivating team entering the trade season. Both Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are pending unrestricted free agents with as-yet-to-be-resolved situations, and the Blue Jackets are tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division only days before the All-Star break.
GM Jarmo Kekalainen is likely to be the most-watched and over-analyzed figure of this year's deadline madness.
A recent report from Aaron Portzline of The Athletic links the Blue Jackets with Derick Brassard, whom the club drafted under Doug MacLean at No. 6 overall in 2006. Brassard spent six seasons in Columbus before he was traded to the New York Rangers in the deal that brought Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets in 2013.
Told #CBJ have had trade talks with #Pens regarding center Derick Brassard, who was drafted by Blue Jackets (No. 6 overall, 06) and spent parts of six seasons in the sweater.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 17, 2019
Given CBJ need at center, not a surprise. But trading with a Metro rival would be a tricky business.
Outside of the Sergei Bobrovsky situation – which may or may not be resolved by the deadline – make no mistake here, folks. The Blue Jackets will be adding to their team at the deadline and likely up front, where an upgrade in skill will go a long way toward improving their chances into the postseason.
Brassard would be a quality add, as Portzline suggests in his tweet, for both his skill and his ability to play center. He hasn't been a fit in Pittsburgh though Mike Sullivan is largely using him in a third-line role, and it's tough to expect anything else when you're slotted behind two guys named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
This won't be the last trade rumor circling the Blue Jackets in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned as the fun is about to kick into gear.
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