The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a nightmare of a 2022-23 season. At the time of this writing, they have an 8-13-2 record and the least amount of points in the Eastern Conference. This is certainly not what they expected coming into the season, as they were the winners of the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. Long-term injuries to key players like Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Jake Bean, and Justin Danforth certainly are a big reason for their troubles. Yet, no matter the case, Columbus is set to be a major seller at the trade deadline because of it.
Detroit Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman should consider doing business with the Blue Jackets if they remain in the playoff race once the deadline is here. This is because they have three specific trade targets worth making a push for. Let’s take a look at them now.
Vladislav Gavrikov is the Blue Jackets’ biggest rental candidate, and he will receive a ton of interest on the trading market because of it. The 27-year-old has been their top shutdown defenseman over the last few seasons due to his very reliable play in his own zone. Yet, the 6-foot-3 defenseman is also capable of providing solid offense from the point while maintaining his steady play, so he is a coach’s dream. Although he has only six points in 23 games this season for Columbus, he also recorded an impressive 33-point campaign in 80 games for them just last season. Therefore, it seems quite likely that he will heat up offensively as the year carries on.
It’s fair to argue that the Red Wings could use a bit of a boost on their left side. That’s not to say that their left side is bad, but if they want to go on a legitimate playoff run this spring, they should consider the prospect of bringing in Gavrikov. He would be an upgrade over Ben Chiarot on the top pairing but could also form a strong duo with offensive defenseman Filip Hronek on the second pairing. With that, his steady two-way play would allow him to receive time on both the Red Wings’ power play and penalty kill.
To acquire Gavrikov from the Blue Jackets, Detroit would likely need to part ways with a second-round pick and prospect. One player that could interest Columbus is Shai Buium. The 6-foot-3 prospect has all the tools to one day blossom into a solid two-way defenseman at the NHL level, so he could be a great fit for the Blue Jackets later down the road. In 16 games this season with the University of Denver, he has one goal and eight points.
The 2022-23 season has not been a very good one for Jack Roslovic. After scoring 22 goals and recording 45 points in 81 games last season, the 25-year-old forward has just a goal and eight points in 20 contests this campaign. This dip in production has led the Columbus native to be a healthy scratch this season as well. With all of this, it does not seem entirely out of the question that the Blue Jackets would be open to moving him. Thus, if the 6-foot-1 forward is officially made available, the Red Wings should consider the prospect of adding him.
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Roslovic’s success from just last season shows that he is a prime bounce-back candidate. A change of scenery could be what sparks him to do exactly that, and I’d argue that he would be a great addition to the Red Wings. Since Roslovic can play both center and right wing, there’s no question that he would have a spot in their middle six if acquired. Furthermore, his offensive ability would allow him to receive time on their second power-play unit at a minimum. All of this could be enough to find his previous scoring touch, so this certainly would be an avenue worth considering.
With Roslovic producing at a lower rate than usual, it’s fair to argue that his trade value is not particularly high at this juncture. Because of this, it seems possible that the Red Wings could acquire him by giving up just a third-round pick and a mid-tier prospect.
Could a reunion with Gustav Nyquist make sense for the Red Wings? The 33-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) who would give Detroit more secondary scoring and could be a decent rental because of it. Although he is off to a bit of a slow start this season (11 points in 23 games), he also put together a 53-point campaign in 82 games just last year. Therefore, like Roslovic, it’s fair to wonder if he could produce more regularly if given a fresh start somewhere else. After all, Columbus has struggled to produce offense as a unit, so maybe joining a deeper team like the Red Wings could benefit the 5-foot-11 winger.
Similar to Roslovic, Nyquist could work well in Detroit’s middle six. At a minimum, the veteran forward would provide an upgrade to the Red Wings’ third line because of his solid scoring ability and playmaking skills. Furthermore, he would have a guaranteed spot on their power play because of his ability to create chances and offense. This is especially true if he begins picking things up as the year carries on.
If the Blue Jackets retain a portion of Nyquist’s $5.5 million cap hit, I’d argue that this is a move that would be worthwhile for the Red Wings. A third-round pick and prospect would likely be enough to facilitate this trade, so it wouldn’t be too expensive to land the former Red Wing.
Alas, the Red Wings have some rather intriguing trade targets from the Blue Jackets. Out of this trio, Gavrikov would be the biggest splash, but adding either Roslovic or Nyquist could be great, too. It will be intriguing to see if the Red Wings and Blue Jackets end up striking a deal before the trade deadline from here.
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Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, & Detroit Red Wings for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHL Trade Rumors.