The Columbus Blue Jackets are having a solid offseason. There’s work to be done, but their AHL club is thriving in the Calder Cup Playoffs and they drew third overall in the draft lottery. In this draft, that pick is going to be a great player or some incredible trade bait.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, they aren’t actively shopping that pick, but “there are aggressive offers being made.”
It’s assumed that the player available to them at that point will be Finnish forward Jesse Puljujarvi, who was the presumptive second overall pick at the start of the season, but has been supplanted by Patrik Laine.
Puljujarvi is a special player and that’s going to make it tough for Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to move that pick out when he has a developing team that could use a potentially elite forward. Dreger says the deal would have to be incredible to actually come to fruition.
That’s a club that’s got some great young players coming through the American Hockey League. They’re developing the right way. But they’re not there yet. And so because of that, they’re just doing due diligence and being responsible and listening. But it would take an unbelievable deal for Jarmo Kekalainen to move the third pick overall.
At the fourth overall pick, Dreger says that Edmonton is “more eager to move” their pick. They too aren’t actively shopping the pick, but they’re listening and looking for a defenseman. Their eagerness doesn’t come as a surprise. General manager Peter Chiarelli has previously said publicly that he’s open to moving their top pick.
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Similarly, the Vancouver Canucks are listening to offers on the fifth overall pick. “They know they’re getting a very, very good player,” said Dreger, “but Jim Benning did not like being part of the non-playoff picture in the National Hockey League. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
That should be a little concerning for Canucks fans. Benning doesn’t have a great track record with trades, and with the state of the current roster, moves that are focused on making the playoffs this coming season could be trades that inhibit the team’s ability to rebuild or refresh the roster.
h/t Chris Nichols transcription