Now, we're cooking with gas.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are on a well-documented search to upgrade their attack.
The problem is, well, a pandemic and the financial uncertainty created by a flat cap and teams unsure about how much they can do. But GM Jarmo Kekalainen seems to have a plan – and it's coming into shape.
Josh Anderson was traded to Montreal and signed a seven-year, $38 million deal. You can surmise the Blue Jackets weren't touching that. Alexander Wennberg's contract is being bought out. Markus Nutivaara is off to Florida, and Ryan Murray is on to New Jersey.
The Blue Jackets still have the card to play of placing Brandon Dubinsky's $5.8M contract on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), creating additional cap space.
By trading the 2012 2nd overall selection Ryan Murray, the #BlueJackets have cleared $4.6M and now have $14.2M in cap space with a roster of 19 (11F-6D-2G)— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) October 9, 2020
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Assuming they make no more trades (which, who knows at this point?) the Blue Jackets have around $14 million to sign Pierre-Luc Dubois, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Kevin Stenlund. As TSN insider Darren Dreger mentioned Thursday, the Blue Jackets may have something else on their radar: UFA forward Taylor Hall, considered to be the best forward on the free-agent market.
Hall would be a great fit for the Blue Jackets. He's still young, still scores goals, and is a game-changer. He would be joining a team ready to take the next step and one that has been aggressive this offseason in clearing money to upgrade its roster. Kekalainen has made some difficult decisions, but it's not hard to see what Columbus is doing here.
They need goals, and they need them now.