Could the Columbus Blue Jackets trade for Jakob Chychrun

Now that both the NHL draft and free agency have past and NHL training camps are just weeks away from getting underway, it is time to check in on past trade talks. Right around the draft the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets were talking about a trade that centered around Coyotes defensemen Jakob Chychrun. No trade was made but that does not mean that the teams ended the talks entirely.

DETROIT, MI – MARCH 08: Jakob Chychrun (6) of the Arizona Coyotes controls the puck against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period of an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on March 8, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. Arizona defeated Detroit 9-2. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Blue Jackets are a young up and coming team and the Coyotes have been in rebuild mode for a while. Columbus has a surplus of forwards and the Coyotes need forwards. The Coyotes have defensive talent and the Blue Jackets need more help on defense. Making this a plausible possibility.

If a trade were made, The Blue Jackets would get an instant upgrade for the blue line. A top pairing of Zach Werenski and Chychrun would help the rest of the roster out as Andrew Peeke would have to slide to the second line so the Blue Jackets depth would be better.

Jakub Chychrun signed a 6 year $27,600,000 contract in 2018. The Blue Jackets who had to trade Oliver Bjorkstrand in order to get Patrik Laine’s new extension under the cap would need to send a player or players to Arizona of at least equal value in order to be under the cap if they trade for Chychrun.

COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 22: Liam Foudy #19 of the Columbus Blue Jackets poses for his official headshot for the 2021-2022 season on September 22, 2021 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the trade of Bjorkstrand the word is Columbus is going to give Krill Marchenko a long look in training camp. Still the Blue Jackets could offer a package something along the lines of Gustav Nyquist and former first round draft pick Liam Foudy. Again that is just an example.

Chychrun is a very good defensive player and the asking price would be a lot as it should be. Again the Blue Jackets have a surplus of forwards and certainly have enough to offer the Coyotes.

I am not saying this is going to happen, but it is worth keeping and eye on as it is pre training camp trade season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded Oliver Bjorkstrand to become cap compliant

There are angry fans, there are puzzled fans, there are fans who understand. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who Friday afternoon signed Patrik Laine to a 4 year $34.8 million extension, was on the clock to make a deal and make it fast. The Blue Jackets had to get to a point where they would be cap compliant after signing free agent Johnny Gaudreau and Laine. The odd man out turned out to be Oliver Bjorkstand who will now call Seattle home as he will play for the Kraken.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 8: Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets waves to the fans after being named first star of the game following a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Nationwide Arena on January 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

After news broke about the Laine extension, I took to social media and gave a short list (4 players) who due to their contracts I thought would be moved to get the Blue Jackets under the salary cap. I listed Bjorkstrand as one of those players (the other players listed are irrelevant as they did not get traded.)

Social media saw an uptick in Blue Jacket posts. No matter if fans were, angry, puzzled or understanding, one thing shined through……. they are going to miss Oliver Bjorkstrand who had been drafted by the team developed by the team and became a top six forward on the team. Bjorkstrand spent 9 years in the Blue Jackets organization.

It looks and feels like the Blue Jackets front office rushed to make the move as the team received a 3rd and 4th round draft pick for Bjorkstrand. While understanding this was a salary dump by the Blue Jackets it feels like the return should have been a bit more.

DALLAS, TX – JUNE 23: Kirill Marchenko poses for a portrait after being selected 49th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

There really is no positive spin that will appease the Columbus Blue Jackets 5th line (fan base.) I do believe that by trading Oliver Bjorkstrand the door is now open for Krill Marchenko, who is the Blue Jackets #2 ranked prospect if he has a strong training camp to slide into a starting right wing (RW) role on the team.

In the end something had to give. In these situations the GM makes calls and does a lot of busy work. It could very well be that the 3rd and 4th round draft picks was the best return the organization could get.

No matter what, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in very good shape heading into training camp and the regular season. As for Oliver Bjorkstrand, Seattle please take good care of him. He is a good player on and off the ice.

Blue Jackets fans, leave a comment, give us your thoughts or simply vent, if you like.

Was this timing calculated by the Columbus Blue Jackets

You’ve heard it at least once in your life, timing is everything. It is hard not to look at the Columbus Blue Jackets and the organization’s offseason and think this is a bit more than coincidence. For years the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have had a stranglehold on the Metropolitan (Metro) Division. With both Pittsburgh and Washington’s Stanley Cup window all but closed, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made their move.

Looking back at the 2019 Blue Jackets season, that year saw the team trade for some high profile players in hopes of making some noise in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When the team was knocked out of the playoffs the players walked as free agents. Looking back that may have been intentional.

For years Columbus Blue Jackets fan base have heard both team President, John Davidson and General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen say that Columbus is wonderful and they could attract free agents. Yet, that did not happen. Until this offseason.

CALGARY, ALBERTA – MAY 18: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames skates before the game against the Edmonton Oilers in Game One of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on May 18, 2022 in Calgary, Alberta. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the Penguins and Capitals in decline, Kekalainen made his move. signing coveted free agent Johnny Gaudreau and his teammate and friend in Calgary Erik Gudbranson. Stunning the hockey world, yet Kekalainen said that the signing should put any false notion to rest. Free agents will come to Columbus.

So hear me out for a moment. If the Columbus Blue Jackets front office, gave the city and fans a peek at what could be in 2019, yet felt that it was not the right time to go all in they had a plan in place the whole time.

What if Jarmo Kekalainen allowed the division’s “top dogs” to do what they had been doing? With aging rosters and up against the salary cap not to mention both the Penguins and Capitals minor leagues in shambles due to winning, the Blue Jackets front office was willing to wait it out. Until now.

PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 22: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 22, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

I do believe Kekalainen, I think that both Johnny Gaudreau who said he wants to be a Blue Jacket and Patrik Laine (who the team signed to a 4-year extension yesterday)  has expressed his love for Columbus, shows that players will come.

This has been a franchise changing offseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets who suddenly look like one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.


GM Jarmo Kekalainen has pushed the Columbus Blue Jackets reset forward

When Columbus Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen, announced the organization was entering a “reset” many thought that was code for rebuild. After Columbus stunned the hockey world Wednesday night by signing free agent left wing (LW) Johnny Gaudreau it appears it was and is a reset after all. Now it looks like the Blue Jackets are set to start the climb back to the NHL Playoffs.

Johnny Gaudreau is a playmaker. As in elite playmaker. Last season with the Calgary Flames, Gaudreau amassed 40 goals, 75 assists and 115 points. While many people were shocked at the signing, Gaudreau said that he had Columbus circled as a possible destination during free agency.

Until the news broke Wednesday evening, Columbus was never a hot bed for NHL free agents. Now with Johnny Gaudreau those days may be over. Again, Gaudreau said he had Columbus circled as a possible team he would sign with. Meaning, he wanted to come to the Blue Jackets.

Back to Jarmo Kekalainen, who said after the 2019 exits of Artemi Panarin and other high profile players he wants players who want to be in Columbus. Players like Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 05: Jakub Voracek #93 and Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrate after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 at the Wells Fargo Center on April 5, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Columbus is set on the left side. With Gaudreau, Laine and Jakub Voracek. The team still needs to come to terms with Laine on a new contract. It makes you think does the team view Voracek as a long term player or will they attempt to move him to free up space to sign Laine?

During his press conference Gaudreau spoke highly of Laine and sure made it seem like he wants to be on the same team as him. So what does this mean for the Blue Jackets moving forward?

COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 4: Johnny Gaudreau #13 of the Calgary Flames controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 4, 2018 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot of talent. The team is still young, but they are armed with Cole Sillinger, Kent Johnson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Boone Jenner, Gustav Nyquist, Jack Roslovic, Emil Bemtrom, Alexandre Texier, Gaudreau, Vorceck and Laine.

In order to be in the mix for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Columbus would need to pick up at least 19 more points this season. Many of the teams young players have a full season under their belts and are expected to take the next step. Which is possible.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are clearly a team on the rise. This will be a fun season and one that very well could see them back in the playoffs.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the Columbus Blue Jackets.


3 players who can breakout for the Columbus Blue Jackets next season

As Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen continues to mold and shape the teams roster it became clear last season that this make over while not fun, could yield a very fun, dangerous hockey team. Going over last seasons roster, and projecting what is to come, I have found 3 players who I believe are likely to breakout next season.

COLUMBUS, OHIO – MARCH 05: Yegor Chinakhov #59 of the Columbus Blue Jackets gets set during a face off against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena on March 05, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

Yegor Chinakhov, RW, while nothing really jumped off the boards during his rookie season, Chinakhov’s all around play improved as the season moved along. 7 goals and 14 points with 7 assists  is not earthshaking. Looking ahead to projections, the fleet footed young winger has some very good upside. Chinakhov is a natural goal scorer and I believe much like Oliver Bjorkstand will find his scoring touch in time. I look for Chinakhov to take the next step in his development this coming season.

MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 12: Adam Boqvist (27) of the Columbus Blue Jackets waits for play to begin during the third period of the NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens on February 12, 2022, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC(Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defensemen, Adam Boqvist is the next on my list of breakout player watch. Playing 52 games because of injuries, Boqvist flashed what is to come. 11 goals, 11 assists with 22 points, suggests that the young blueliner has some serious offensive upside. In what was his first full season in the NHL, Boqvist showed while young and still learning, his defensive game will be solid when it all comes together. Putting on more weight and getting stronger will help fend off the pesky injuries he sustained this past season. It will be fun to watch his development this coming season for the Blue Jackets.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 22: Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger #34 skates with the puck during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Ottawa Senators at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on April 22, 2022.(Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The next player may make some or all of you say, really? Or no kidding? But for me a player who should take a big step forward is Cole Sillinger. Sillinger, who at just 18 years old mind you had a very good rookie season. 16 goals, 15 assists with 31 points, including a hat trick. There was and is a lot and I mean a lot to like from the young center. When drafted the only knock on Sillinger was his “suspect defense.” Yet Sillinger played well at both ends of the ice. Can he improve? Yes! In my opinion, Sillinger has not even scratched the surface of what he is capable of doing, which should delight the Blue Jacket fan base.

So those are my 3 players who I believe will or very well could breakout for the Columbus Blue Jackets, next season. Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Columbus Blue Jackets, Cole Sillinger feels like he can give more

When the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Cole Sillinger with the organizations second first round draft pick (12 overall) in 2021 the thought was that the young forward would slide into one of the center positions quickly. That did happen and now Sillinger is firmly planted as the second line center. Not bad for an 18 year old. In what started out as a shaky rookie campaign, Sillinger has turned up his game. Yet, it feels like he can give even more.

COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 12: Cole Sillinger #34 of the Columbus Blue Jackets shoots the puck during the third period of a game against the Washington Capitals at Nationwide Arena on November 12, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

14 goals, 13 assists with 27 points (as of this moment.) Cole Sillinger has had a nice rookie season for the Blue Jackets. The young center went from starting to being a healthy scratch to starting again to earn time on the second power play line. Such is rookie life in the NHL.

When he came into the league, Sillinger was known as a pure sniper. In fact many scouts had him listed as the best shooter in the draft. Playing center however is more tricky and there is considerably more responsibility as centers do not just fire the puck at the net. Centers must set up line mates and pass into the tough areas all that means is there is a lot to learn.

Being the youngest player in the NHL means that even though Cole Sillinger has had a nice rookie season, he feels like a player who can give more and by and large will give more.

In my opinion once Sillinger learns his craft even further he should be closer to 20-25 goals and 50 points. I do not think that is a stretch. In fact Sillinger has shown enough flashes of what he will be once his development is complete.

Things that can not be taught are toughness and playing with an edge which Sillinger does. He is also more than capable to take over a game such as when he sored his first career hat trick against the Vegas Golden Knights. The sky seems to be the limit for Sillinger.

VANCOUVER, BC – DECEMBER 14: Columbus Blue Jackets Center Cole Sillinger (34) on ice against the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on December 14, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a glaring need at center for some time, Sillinger has helped to ease that need. He is one player fans should focus on this offseason as a player who could very well have his breakout next season.

Officially eliminated from the playoffs, here is why Columbus Blue Jackets fans should be excited

In a “normal” season playing out the string is less than desirable. It can be even worse if a franchise is facing a long daunting rebuild. Last season when Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen began trading veteran players and announced a reset (call it what you will,) the future of the Blue Jackets became the focal point. Gone was a nice playoff run, enter a painful rebuild. Right? No!! Here is why fans should be both excited and optimistic for the future.

ELMONT, NEW YORK – MARCH 31: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates in his 400th NHL game against the New York Islanders at the UBS Arena on March 31, 2022 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Hovering around .500 this season with a new head coach (Brad Larsen) has been a pleasant surprise. The young Blue Jackets have battled together and by in large grown as a group throughout the season. Officially eliminated from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is not all bad. Armed with two first round draft picks this summer, fans can count on the Blue Jackets battling through the final game of the season and not throwing in the towel.

Being the youngest team in the NHL has set the Blue Jackets up for success sooner than later. Being young and less physical than many teams the Blue Jackets have had to stand up for one another this season. There is a real (and I mean real) need that needs to be addressed, a physical player or two needs to be brought in during free agency this summer.

With it’s core players now being young and very skilled, the Blue Jackets are in good shape going forward. Already this season the young Blue Jackets have shown they can play with anyone including the best teams in the league. Now it is just a matter of those same young players taking another step in development.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – DECEMBER 11: Vladislav Gavrikov #44 of the Columbus Blue Jackets talks to Andrew Peeke #2 of the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to a face-off during the second period of a game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on December 11, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

I am going to go a step further, I believe the Columbus Blue Jackets future is bright. Look I really liked those playoff teams. But, there is something in the air in Columbus. A new dawning of Blue Jackets hockey is coming. This team is young, fast and has some high-end skill on it.

This has been a fun season even with no playoffs. This summer will be very interesting.

Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts on the direction of the Columbus Blue Jackets.


From walk-on at The University Michigan to a solid Columbus Blue Jackets debut Nick Blankenburg is scrappy

Seven University of Michigan men’s hockey team were draft by NHL teams. Four of those players were an NCAA record first round draft pick. The Wolverines team captain Nick Blankenburg was not drafted, in fact he was not offered a scholarship. Nick Blankenburg fought and made the team. The Columbus Blue Jackets chose to sign him to a one year contract as he went undrafted. While this is not quite a Rocky story, it is a feel-good one.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 07: Nick Blankenburg #7 of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the first period of the Frozen Four semifinal game between the Michigan Wolverines and Denver Pioneers at TD Garden on April 07, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

At 5′ 9″ Nick Blankenburg does not have the intimidating presence as say Zdeno Chara (who stands 6′ 9″) yet the defensemen played as though he was as tall as Chara.

I quote the great Jedi Master, Yoda “size matters not.” Talent matters, heart matters, determination matters. Blankenburg checks all of those boxes. Wednesday night at Nationwide Arena, Nick Blankenburg took the ice for the Columbus Blue Jackets what ensued was that of a fairy tail.

Big hits, five blocked shots, first NHL point, oh and Blankenburg earned the third star of the game. Blankenburg was all over the ice. He uses his stick very well and is not afraid to jump into the mix. Blankenburg  plays with an edge to his game and has a tough man mentality.

The Blue Jackets fans ate up this small yet powerful rookies debut. A kid from Michigan, who played at the University of Michigan now in Columbus Ohio showing the heart of a lion was the stuff of legends, going from college walk-on to undrafted to third star in his first NHL game.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 13: Nick Blankenburg #77 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at Nationwide Arena on April 13, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. Blankenburg was making his NHL debut in the game. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen said he likes the toughness in Nick Blankenburg’s game. It would seem that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen found an absolute steal.

One more thing of note, Nick Blankenburg also joined the Blue Jackets penalty kill unit all in his first game. It would only be fitting if the Blue Jackets increase Blankenburg’s ice time which I feel could happen tonight as the Blue Jackets are in Los Angeles to take on the Kings.

Kent Johnson set to make his Columbus Blue Jackets debut

2021 Columbus Blue Jackets first round draft pick (5 overall) Kent Johnson is set to make his debut tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadians. Having just ended his college career at the University of Michigan, Johnson looks to show why the Blue Jackets drafted him so high. He is a high end player who has the elite skill to make an impact at the NHL level.

SOUTH BEND, IN – FEBRUARY 26: Michigan Wolverines forward Kent Johnson (13) skates towards the Notre Dame Fighting Irish goal during a men’s college hockey game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on February 26th, 2022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend IN. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Blazing speed, check.  Offensively fearlessness, check. Solid defensively, check. Kent Johnson is a well rounded player. Playing on the wing, Johnson projects as a very good two-way center at the NHL level. That said the Columbus Blue Jackets will bring him along slowly and start him on the wing.

Some fans were upset the Blue Jackets signed Johnson to his entry level contract (ELC) only to bring him up the final seven games to burn through one year of the contract. I actually side with the Blue Jackets on this one. You see had Kent Johnson not gone back to Michigan he would have been in Columbus. He is simply to good for the minor leagues.

Johnson is a very strong skater has top end speed and is a nightmare matchup. He is fearless in his playmaking and is not afraid to try things. His passes are as good as any of the top NHL players.

Johnson has a full understanding of his responsibilities in the defensive end and is not shy about getting into the mix and fight for the puck. While his goal scoring still needs some work there is little question he will make himself a scoring threat.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 08: A detailed view of the Columbus Blue Jackets jersey logo during the first period of the game between the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena on February 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Seven games is somewhat of a tease heading into the offseason. Johnson needs to add some weight which is probably going to be on his summer to-do list. Still Columbus Blue Jacket fans should be very excited Johnson should enter next season as a favorite to win the Calder Trophy next season.

Improved special teams and more consistent play from the blue line has the Columbus Blue Jackets playing well

Just like that the Columbus Blue Jackets are winning hockey games again. The team started the season in solid shape, and then youth proved to be a downfall of sorts. Having a rough December and January the Blue Jackets looked like a team that was rebuilding. When the All Star break came around it was almost like the team and coaching hit the reset button. A 7-1 record in February has given hope again.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 23: Andrew Peeke #2 of the Columbus Blue Jackets checks Zach Sanford #13 of the Ottawa Senators into the boards during the second period of a game at Nationwide Arena on January 23, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Two things jump out in the Blue Jackets turnaround, special teams play and the defensive unit (blue line.) Ranking 24th on the power play does not seem all the great. In actuality it is not. However, the power play has improved as it is creating better scoring chances by getting the puck down low.

The Blue Jackets penalty kill ranks 12th. That is pretty good. This unit has been lights out in wins against the Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. In fact the penalty kill allowed zero shots on goal vs Florida.

Speaking of the Columbus Blue Jackets blue line, they seem to have benefited most from the All Star break. The very young defensive crop has had a rough time cutting it’s teeth. That is until after the All Star weekend. Now the unit is rotating to the spot of the puck and forming a wall in front of the Blue Jacket goalies.

For a team that is supposed to be in a rebuild/reload the Blue Jackets are in position to make one of the NHL’s wild card spots for the playoffs. Yes, there is still a lot of hockey to play. The fact they even in this position is promising.

The Blue Jackets are sure to at the very least have one lottery draft pick from the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the Seth Jones trade. If they miss the playoffs there is a chance (all be it slim) the Blue Jackets could have two lottery draft picks.

NEWARK, NJ – JANUARY 06: Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Brad Larsen looks on during the second period against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 6, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

All and all Brad Larsen has done a very good, very solid job with the team who is fun to watch.