Monday, February 22, 2010

Trade Deadline Targets: Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are loaded with young talent at all positions.  Calder Winner and Vezina nominated Steve Mason has suffered a terrible sophomore jinx.  Mason's struggles in goal cost head coach Ken Hitchcock his job in Columbus.  Many felt Hitchcock's defensive system kept alot of their young high-skilled forwards from succeeding.  The Jackets are a good team that hasn't been able able to catch a break this season.  They've got a good young core and shouldn't be looking to sell off too many pieces.

1. Fredrik Modin (UFA 812,500)- Modin would be a pretty nice pick-up but he's struggled with injuries over the last two and half seasons.  He's appeared in only 23 games this season and misssed 91 games over the previous two seasons.  He was a key contributor on the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup team posting 19 points in 23 playoff games.  Although he's gone pointless in nine playoff games since.  He's a big body that's hard to move and strong defensively.  He could be a low-risk, high-reward type pick up for Dean Lombardi.

2. Raffi Torres (UFA 562,500)- Raffi has been a solid contributor for the Jackets.  His 19 goals this season is tied for second on the team.  He's most productive as a third-line grinder who can chip in offensively.  He's a high-character player; the type of player Dean Lombardi loves.  At 28, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Kings dealt for him and then attempted to re-sign him.  Although, the Kings most glaring need is for a high-skilled winger to play with Kopitar.

3. Nikita Filatov- It's a long shot but did somebody say high-skilled winger?  Nikita Filatov is the most-skilled player not in the NHL right now.  Filatov and former bench boss Ken Hitchcock didn't see eye-to-eye at times this season; prompting Filatov to request a return to Russia.  He's scored 24 points in 23 games for CSKA since the move.  Is Filatov available?  Probably not.  Filatov's main issue was with Hitchcock but he may decide that he's done with the Blue Jackets organization all together.  In which case, the Kings should offer everything but the kitchen sink to acquire this 19-year old sniper.

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