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Marian Gaborik traded to Blue Jackets in deadline surprise

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Gaborik has nine goals, 10 assists this season. (Getty Images)
Marian Gaborik has nine goals, 10 assists this season. (Getty Images)

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If you were looking for your blockbuster deal on the NHL's trade deadline day, you got it. Marian Gaborik was traded from the New York Rangers to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round pick.

The trade was first reported by Darren Dreger of TSN.

Whoa.

If you combine the last two trades that the Rangers and Blue Jackets have made, you essentially have a swap of Gaborik for Rick Nash (and all the other players involved). Talk about a massive deal.

I think we can safely say the Blue Jackets are going for it. They came into the trade deadline just one point out of a playoff spot in a surprise campaign, and then they went out and got a bonafide scorer.

"Throughout this process our focus was to add a player who could provide a boost to our offense, improve our goal scoring and power play and we identified Marian Gaborik as the player we wanted," Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He has been an elite goal scorer in this league for many years and we are very excited to have him."

Gaborik's name began floating on the trade block a while ago as he and the Rangers have struggled this season. A guy who has scored 40 goals a few times in his career has just nine goals and 10 assists this season for a Rangers team that has been incredibly underwhelming. It made him perhaps a target.

It didn't seem like it would happen, and it especially didn't seem like he'd go to a place like Columbus. Obviously, that was wrong. Gaborik even waived his no-trade clause to get the deal done and get out of a situation that had become pretty tough.

Just go back a few months, though, and imagine this trade. It wasn't long ago that Nash was asking the Blue Jackets for a trade because the team was struggling so much. He engineered a deal to the Rangers. Now the Rangers are selling a player to the Blue Jackets, who are chasing a playoff spot.

This is the Bizarro NHL, especially when you stop and realize there's a chance the Blue Jackets will make the playoffs and the Rangers won't.

This is about more than just a deal because he is struggling. Gaborik is signed through next season and has a $7.5 million cap hit that he carries. The Rangers, though, are pushing the cap that's going to come down next season, so they had some moves to make. This creates some breathing room.

But trading a guy who has scored 41 goals in a season three times is a little bigger deal than just breathing room. Especially when the Rangers are the worst scoring team in the league this season.

You have to wonder how much Gaborik's relationship with coach John Tortorella played into this. It hasn't been a big secret that the two haven't gotten along, and it was showing this year on the ice. Gaborik seemed to want to be in New York, but he agreed to a trade to the team that Nash was fleeing a few months ago. That says something.

It also says something when Gaborik says this to TSN after the trade: "It's good that somebody actually wants you on the team." Ouch.

For Columbus, though, how can you not love this? Gaborik isn't tied in for a long time -- just one more season -- and he gives them a face for the franchise that they have been missing since Nash left. Plus, it seriously boosts their once unthinkable odds of reaching the playoffs.

We were waiting all day for something -- anything! -- to happen. Big things come to those who wait because this is one of the bigger deadline deals that we could have imagined.

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