The Columbus Blue Jackets made a surprising move on Friday, trading for center Matt Duchene in an ambitious deal. For a team expected to be sellers at the deadline with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky with one foot out the door, the Blue Jackets indicate with this deal that they're content with trying to make a run this year.
The Blue Jackets sent prospects Vitali Abramov and Jonathan Davidsson to Ottawa in the deal, along with a 2019 first-round pick and a 2020 conditional first. The Blue Jackets received Julius Bergman from Ottawa as well. It's a big price for a rental, vbut if nothing else it shows that the Senators are serious about this season.
Panarin was the winger whose name was drawing the most interest at this year's deadline, but he and Bobrovsky are now joined by Duchene as players who will be free agents next season.
This might actually be an incredibly deft move by the Blue Jackets, even if they do now risk losing Panarin, Bobrovsky and now Duchene for nothing. They're only a game back of the Hurricanes for a wild card spot in the East. Furthermore, according to The Athletic's Aaron Portzline, Duchene has potentially changed his tune about potentially re-signing with the Blue Jackets in the offseason, so if nothing else they may end up with more than a rental.
Duchene is the first domino to fall for the Senators. He was the player who was apparently being shopped by them with the most urgency, so the futures of Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel are still in the air.