The Columbus Blue Jackets are at it again, adding yet another piece to the puzzle with the acquisition of defenceman Adam McQuaid. The deal sent two draft picks to the New York Rangers, one fourth-rounder for 2019 and one seventh-rounder for 2019.
This is again without question a depth trade for the Blue Jackets. It illustrates the team’s desire to go all-in this season.
There are rumblings that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is still sniffing around for some pieces, with some reports suggesting that Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall may still be in play. Conversely, reports have suggested that Kronwall had no interest in a deal and that opened the door for the Jackets and McQuaid.
For Columbus, this is about the here and now. And Kekalainen is taking a lot of gambles with his moves throughout this period, leading right up to the trade deadline Monday.
As of now, the Blue Jackets only have a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick for this year’s draft in Vancouver.
McQuaid is a big defenceman and he’ll add size to the blueline for Columbus. He’s 6’4 and 212 pounds and he fuels aggression from the defensive end. He won’t put many points on the board, but he can play a physical brand of hockey.
But in all honesty, this is probably about availability. In terms of a solid rental defenceman, there aren’t too many on the market right now. McQuaid is one of the best available and that explains Columbus’ interest on at least some level.
It comes back to the gambling for Kekalainen, however, and that’s where this could all fall apart. Clearly, the Blue Jackets are showing a sense of urgency for this year’s playoffs. Clearly, they want to take a run at it.
The list of acquisitions is long and there is, at least for now, no question that Kekalainen and Co. are the busiest front office today as the trade deadline draws to a close. With under an hour to go, nobody has made a comparable splash to improve their team’s fortunes.
In 36 games this season, McQuaid has five points. He’s a plus-5 player currently and averages about 17 and a half minutes of ice time per game. He has 33 penalty minutes.
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