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Columbus Blue Jackets trade rumors, trade deadline outlook

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

New Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen faces his first big test at the trade deadline. (Getty Images)
New Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen faces his first big test at the trade deadline. (Getty Images)

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With the 2013 NHL trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET April 3, Eye on Hockey will examine whether each team is a buyer or seller at the deadline, and who each team should look to sell or receive by the deadline

Buyers or Sellers

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a somewhat unexpected position. Currently just one point out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Jackets could consider buying. However, with a new general manager and an eye on the future, stretching to reach the playoffs this season probably isn't the best option and a path the team is unlikely to take.

The Blue Jackets have some veteran pieces new GM Jarmo Kekalainen could shop to see if the team can add anymore building blocks for what could be a brighter future in Columbus.

Additionally, Columbus owns three first-round picks in this year's NHL Draft. That kind of surplus in what is expected to be a very strong draft could fetch the type of player that could help this season and beyond.

There's a lot for the Blue Jackets to consider with optimism surrounding the team after its 12-game point streak, but being too aggressive in a volatile market would be an early stumble in the John Davidson-Jarmo Kekalainen era. It is far more likely the execs will cautiously approach the deadline, but will answer the phone if it rings.

Rumors

Davidson and Kekalainen are likely to be working closely together as the rookie GM approaches his first trade deadline in the big chair. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch says that neither will divulge their strategy and that it's difficult to know where the market is going.

At one point it sounded like Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson could be a trade target of the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, after the Penguins acquired Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks Monday, that rumor is probably dead.

Potential Trade Bait

It seems a lot of teams are in the market for veteran defensemen and Adrian Aucoin could fetch some offers. At 39 years old, he's nearing or at the end of his career, but he has significant experience that could help a team. The return probably wouldn't be substantial, but if the Jackets could get something for moving an asset that isn't part of their future, it makes a lot of sense to make it happen.

The first-round picks could be of value to a lot of teams at the deadline, but they could be more valuable to Columbus at the draft if they have eyes on trying to move up the board. If the right kind of player is available now, however, it would behoove Kekalainen to listen.

If the Blue Jackets do go into sell mode, a trio of veteran forwards could become interesting trade chips. R.J. Umberger, Derick Brassard and Vinny Prospal all could bring in some intriguing offers.

 
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