Mar 14, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wingCam Atkinson
(13) sends a pass to the point under pressure from Chicago Blackhawks centerAndrew Shaw
(65) at Nationwide Arena. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
With the deadline nearing even closer, the Chicago Blackhawks look to be safe from most rumor discussion, with shored up goaltending, solid defense, and great depth up front. However, if the price is right, the Hawks might go to the block with a familiar foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets are working very hard with what assets they have, and are only a few points out of a playoff spot as it sits right now. For them, this trade deadline could be the difference between playing in May or not. Columbus is looking for young, fresh players, and a few experienced veterans, as they continue the rebuild that started last year when they traded Rick Nash to New York.
Now that they have been identified as buyers, who’s selling? For the Chicago Blackhawks, they could throw their hat in to the ring. With Niklas Hjalmarsson yet to be re-signed, he could exit Chicago, and help strengthen the blue line in Ohio along with Jack Johnson and Nikita Nikitin. Hjalmarsson has a good mix of both the youth, and experience that Columbus would need from an incoming player. He could have a long future with the club, playing on a top pairing, instead of being buried behind Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith here in the Windy City.
If the Hawks added a prospect, or a draft pick, they could be given a player like Matt Calvert in return. Calvert is in the final year of his entry-level contract, and will be looking to sign long term and grow with a team. If Columbus is willing to give up a promising young forward for a skilled, experienced defenseman as well as future considerations, I could see this being a good deal for both sides. Calvert is a hard-working player, and a team can count on him to give his A game every shift. He could be a fit on the third line with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell (once Patrick Sharp returns), as he already has about a full season of experience under his belt.
Although a big move now from Stan Bowman and Blackhawks brass would come as a surprise, there’s still possibility for a shuffle in between now and Wednesday. Keep your eyes peeled on the teams on the playoff bubble, as they will look to make a push towards the post-season with a new lineup.
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Mar 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) with the puck during the first period against the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports