The Columbus Blue Jackets are going to attempt to shore up their top lines this offseason. A lot of free agents departing (Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky chief among them) means that the team is going to have a bunch of turnover.
On the most recent 31 Thoughts podcast with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, the two discussed various free agents and their potential landing spots. Forward Matt Duchene, acquired by the Blue Jackets at the trade deadline, was brought up.
Friedman mentioned that the scope of the teams isn't immediately known, but that two teams, the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators, are in strong contention for the forwards' services.
In the podcast, the Blue Jackets aren't mentioned but it doesn't necessarily mean they're excluded.
Does recency bias tint how Duchene views the Blue Jackets moving forward? Are they going to have a leg up given the number of years they can offer, or does Duchene see the changes coming and is looking elsewhere for his next big contract? It's all in play and will come into focus soon enough, with the free agent "negotiating period" beginning shortly after the NHL Draft in two weeks.
The end of the Stanley Cup Final marks the beginning of speculation season. Frontrunners will be named and emerge, but until the ink dries on a contract, the Blue Jackets figure to be in the running for a guy they'd long-coveted and finally acquired.
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