We know the Blue Jackets have been hunting for an impact forward this summer, in the wake of Artemi Panarin's departure in free agency.
While GM Jarmo Kekalainen was able to sign productive veteran Gustav Nyquist to a four-year deal on July 1, he's still looking for skill – and that's been consistent throughout his tenure in Columbus. And while he wasn't able to lure Mitch Marner via an offer sheet, Kekalainen now has another opportunity: the glut of defensemen on his roster, combined with his desire to add a forward.
Several teams are looking for defense, and a few have forwards they could part with – though making deals this close to opening night can be difficult, particularly in a salary cap league. That hasn't stopped the conversation from picking up, according to a recent report from The Athletic's Pierre Lebrun:
But don’t forget the Columbus Blue Jackets in all this. They’re 10-11 deep in NHL blueliners and outside of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, who aren’t going anywhere, it’s anyone’s guess on the remaining lot. There’s Ryan Murray, David Savard, Markus Nutivaara, Scott Harrington, Dean Kukan, Adam Clendening, Vladislav Gavrikov, Gabriel Carlsson and the sense is Andrew Peeke isn’t that far off from making the jump. One of those D could certainly move within the next few weeks. Of that lot, I would think the veterans Murray and Savard would interest most depending on a team’s need on the left (Murray) or right (Savard) side.
If a team is looking for NHL-level defensemen, then Murray or Savard seem like a good bet. But Carlsson is an interesting name in here, as it seems he's sliding down the depth chart but is still a young player. Peeke's rise is something to watch, too, as it feels as though he's due in Columbus sooner than later.
Murray signed a two-year deal this summer (worth $4.6 million annually) and Savard has this season and one more on the books at $4.25 million per season. Neither player has any trade protection with their contracts, according to CapFriendly.