Enter Seth Jones; exeunt Kevin Connauton.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have waived the 25-year-old defenseman, according to multiple sources on Tuesday. The team is making an attempt to ease a congested blue line, where they have nine players right now.
Connauton is another piece in a big defensive shake-up taking place in Columbus, who started the season with what was arguably the worst blue line in the NHL. They’ve taken steps to remedy it, including the major step of sending Ryan Johansen to Nashville to acquire Jones.
Just before that trade, they also waived Andrew Bodnarchuk, who was scooped up by the Colorado Avalanche.
Connauton is familiar with this process. He came to Columbus in November of 2014 after being waived by the Dallas Stars.
He’s a candidate to be claimed again, surely. Unlike Jakub Kindl, who was waived over the weekend, Connauton comes with a reasonable cap hit of just $683,333 and is a free agent in the summer, so there’s no commitment. However, should he work out, he’s a RFA, so the acquiring team would own his rights in the summer.
This season, he’s played 27 games for Columbus, scoring a goal and eight points while averaging 15:35 of ice time. Over the last two seasons, he’s had a positive relative impact on his teams’ Corsi For Percentage. There’s some reason to believe that he can provide solid third pairing depth for a team that’s struggling with blue line depth and is on a tight budget. He hasn’t been a game-changer in his 125-game career, but he’s a low cost player who is above replacement level for his position. That’s not nothing when it’s coming for free.
On the other hand, a lot of defensemen have passed through waivers recently and relatively few have been claimed.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.