Are the Columbus Blue Jackets a good trading partner for the Edmonton Oilers?

Jonathan Willis
June 18 2012 09:20AM

They own the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, a surprisingly deep group of NHL defensemen, and their general manager learned his trade as an executive in Edmonton. Are the Columbus Blue Jackets a good trading partner for the Oilers?

I’d argue that the Blue Jackets are a legitimate trading partner for the Oilers, but that there’s at least one problem: the team has a couple of other pressing items on its plate.

They’re in the middle of trying to move the face of their franchise, Rick Nash. In a year with a weak free agent crop, Nash is bound to appeal to teams – he’s a 6’4” power forward with 30+ goals in seven of his last eight seasons. At last report fully one-third of the league was in discussing a trade with the Blue Jackets for his services, despite the fact that his contract runs until 2017-18.

Nash was the Jacket’s first overall pick back in 2002; might the first overall pick this year appeal to Columbus? According to Red Line Report, probably not:

If [the Blue Jackets are] going to lose Rick Nash, they’ll probably want to sell their fans on a talented young forward. But their recent history of drafting Russians at the top of the draft – Nikita Filatov and Nikolai Zherdev – might make them understandably leery of taking even Russians like Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko who have come over to play junior in North America.

Red Line goes on to suggest that the Blue Jackets might rather move down rather than up, and on Friday general manager Scott Howson confirmed that they had discussed moving down in the draft with other teams.

Between trying to move the most important player in the history of the franchise and trying to move down from the second overall position – a pair of deals the Oilers will have no interest in – Scott Howson is going to be plenty busy. Aside from the fact that he’s busy, the simple truth is that the return on those trades is going to alter the dynamic of his team in a significant way; Columbus might have very different needs coming out of those deals than they had going in.

If there is a trade between the two teams, it would likely see the Blue Jackets send away an excess blue-liner in exchange for help up front (a lengthy rebuild does not seem to be the intention in Columbus right now). The team may well add a good defenseman in the Nash trade, and they already landed Jack Johnson – while I’m personally not bullish on Johnson, Jackets’ beat reporter Aaron Portzline described the club as “smitten” with his work – and the surprisingly impressive Nikita Nikitin in trades last year. Those players join a defense corps that already features reliable veteran Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin, Marc Methot and 2009 first round pick John Moore. The Oilers were reportedly interested in Methot in the period leading up to the trade deadline, though with the acquisition of Nick Schultz that presumably is no longer the case.

Still, the Blue Jackets have a logjam on defense, and one that might get bigger if and when Nash gets dealt. If the Oilers are trading with them to alleviate that problem, the logical target is Fedor Tyutin. Lowetide wrote about Tyutin two months ago on this site, and his wrap-up then is equally applicable now:

Fedor Tyutin is perhaps the most attractive option we've looked at so far in this series. He has good size for an NHL defenseman, is mobile and adept at moving the puck. He's been healthy (this season aside, he broke his right hand earlier this month and is out indefinitely). He is signed to a long contract, could come into the organization and serve as a legit top pairing option and he could also mentor some of the youngsters coming along. The price tag would be heavy, but the Oilers have picks, prospects and young NHL players in abundance. This might be a very good match for both sides.

Tyutin would be an ideal fit for the Oilers in all areas. His cap hit is a very reasonable $4.5 million, he brings things to the table that the Oilers need in their organization, and above all else he’s a very good NHL defenseman. Columbus may not be willing to move him – and if they’re only interested in dumping their depth defenders it’s hard to believe the Oilers would be interested – but given what the Colubmus blue line looks like right now and their obvious needs up front it only makes sense for the Oilers to ask.

If Tyutin isn’t an option, James Wisniewski or Nikita Nikitin might be. Neither is as ideal a fit for Edmonton’s needs, but both would represent an upgrade on what’s currently in the system.

This week by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Walter Sobchak
June 18 2012, 04:33PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Mine gets you Tyutin, Gardiner, and Galchenyuk for less than yours gets you Yakupov, Tyutin, and Murray, so I guess it depends how you value those players.

I guess Thats the tricky part TUG, I Personelly would take Galchenyuk as well, but knowing the Oilers if such a trade went down, I would think they value Murray more. iMO

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#52 Walter Sobchak
June 18 2012, 04:34PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

@mantooth

can we replace Bunz with Roy.

Why the heck not! Not sure CBJ would though.

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#53 Walter Sobchak
June 18 2012, 04:37PM
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@Dman09

Again, I'm trying to think what the Oilers would want to draft, I myself think if that went down Galchenyuk would be my choice, however I think the Oilers have an unhealthy love affair with Murray.

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#54 TigerUnderGlass
June 18 2012, 05:29PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I guess Thats the tricky part TUG, I Personelly would take Galchenyuk as well, but knowing the Oilers if such a trade went down, I would think they value Murray more. iMO

Doesn't matter. They could still take Murray if they wanted, but by adding Tyutin and Gardiner the need for Murray is reduced because immediate quality help has arrived.

My point is that a trio not too different in perceived quality would be had either way, but my trade costs less.

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#55 Question
June 18 2012, 05:45PM
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Would Columbus trade Nash for Luongo ?

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#56 Crash
June 18 2012, 11:50PM
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BurkeTheTurd wrote:

@ OB1 & Crash

I have to agree. He won't be an all star but having depth in a position a team is weak at can't be a bad thing.

He is no saviour but nothing wrong with Oilers D fighting for roster spots.

What do you think Crash?

No to Scott Hannan.

And why do so many people have this appetite for Fedor Tyutin? So much so that they want to give up on Paajarvi and/or trade Hemsky for him?

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#57 BurkeTheTurd
June 19 2012, 10:36AM
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@ Crash

No clue why everyone wants to ditch Hemsky and PRV for Tyutin.....if your going to sell those players do it when there market value is higher

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