How the trade deadline will play out for the Columbus Blue Jackets could be one of the more intriguing storylines to watch.
Darren Dreger had a Thursday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690.
The Insider was asked if there was a chance the Blue Jackets could go into buy mode.
“I think there is,” agreed Dreger. “I mean, they would love to get their hands on Matt Duchene. To your point, they feel like they need help up the middle of the ice. When I look at the contenders for Duchene, I look at three teams: I look at Columbus, I look at Nashville, and I think the New York Islanders are going to make a play for him. That just makes a lot of sense.
“Now, are all three of those teams willing to offer an extension, and where does Matt Duchene want to live. I kind of doubt he’d be interested in an extension with the Blue Jackets at this point, although players that go there, coaches that go there, say they love it. So perhaps that is an option.
“But I don’t think that the want to add a center like Matt Duchene has a lot to do with what’s going on with Artemi Panarin.The Columbus Blue Jackets are right there. So if somebody steps up with the winning formula to acquire Artemi Panarin, they’re going to get Artemi Panarin.
“But from my understanding, there isn’t an established ask, but there is an expectation. And we’ve heard this before, where Jarmo Kekalainen has made it clear to all who have called, ‘Just make your best offer.’ Well, what does that offer look like. We’re not going to know unless Artemi Panarin gets traded.”
Duchene is months away from a chance at unrestricted free agency with his five-year, $30 million contract winding down.
Panarin seems inclined to test UFA waters this summer, and he’s in the second season of a two-year, $12 million pact.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly