Report: Blue Jackets Hunting for a Defenseman

The Blue Jackets early season woes are well documented. They’re off to a 0-6-0 start and will face the New York Islanders on Tuesday, hoping not to fall to 0-7-0, which has only happened five times in NHL history.

A huge part of the problem, aside from the very poor play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who is pitching a .835 save percentage through five games, has been a porous defense.

GM Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t sitting on his hands though, he’s looking for help before he’s forced to fire Todd Richards after another slow start. Kekalainen is working the phones looking for a defenseman, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, who wrote “Kekalainen talked to many of his counterparts across the league in an attempt to trade for a defenseman (or two) who could bring stability.”

Despite getting out there looking for a solution, there doesn’t appear to be any deal to be struck at this early stage of the season.

“There’s nothing available that fits out plans, or the price is so steep that … you can’t do that,” Kekalainen said. “Misery loves company, right? So you talk to teams that are in a similar situation and try to work something out, but it’s not easy.”

The asking price for help will go down near the March trade deadline, but now, it’s steep. A player and two prospects? Two prospects and a player? Two first-round draft picks and a prospect? Defenseman Zach Werenski, the Jackets’ No. 8 overall pick in June, is a constant request, it seems.

It’s unsurprising that a team in a position to give up a defenseman when the season is so young would be looking to restock the cupboard as they go, asking for Werenski in the deal.

While many are calling for the head of Todd Richards, who lead a weak U.S. Team to bronze in the 2015 World Championships, Elliotte Friedman noted in Tuesday’s “30 Thoughts” that “The word last weekend was [Kekalainen] wanted to make a trade before a coaching change.”

The Blue Jackets, who many were high on entering the season, may have overestimated what their young defenders are able to bring to the table. If that’s the case and Kekalainen can’t find a dancing partner, his hand may be forced.

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