A New Centre for Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are a strong team; early odds put them at the higher end of the list for the 2018 Stanley Cup and some insiders firmly believe that they will get there. One thing they do need though, is another top-six centre.

How Likely is Matt Duchene?

Matt Duchene of The Colorado Avalanche always comes up, and he would be a great fit for The Jackets. It’s well known that The Snowy A are listening to offers for Duchene, but many reports suggest that Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic has set a very high asking price. Not quite as high as some of the best payed footballers, but no small change either.

If the asking price for Duchene remains as high as it is currently thought to be, it will be too rich for the Jackets’ blood and they won’t bite. The price may go down, especially if Duchene is unhappy where he is, but what if this does not happen? The Navy Blazers need to look at alternatives.

Jason Spezza is Worth Consideration

Jason Spezza of The Dallas Stars could be great for Columbus. He’s a talented player, but with the top-six centre positions on the Sheriffs’ team being occupied by Martin Hanzal and Tyler Seguin, he falls into a sort of clean-up role. At the moment, Spezza averages about 12 minutes per game, on the bottom-six. He might be put to much better use by the Chokers, and watching him play could get as exciting as winning when playing real money slots.

Spezza is 34 and his cap for this season and next is $7.5 million; both numbers are higher than they are for Duchene. However, the Stars may very well be willing to unload a bottom-six player and their asking price could be a lot more palatable to Columbus. Dallas may even retain salary in order to seal the deal. Spezza produces at similar levels to Duchene too, and is even ahead in terms of shot generation and goals.

A Mutually Beneficial Deal for the Teams

The bottom-nine in The Dallas Stats is not producing well, and they need depth scoring. Their scouts have been seen at several Blue Jackets games. Since Dallas and Columbus have pieces that could help each other, a deal is certainly possible. It could also realistically give Spezza a chance to chase the Stanley Cup, at this stage of his career.

The situation is interesting, and its developments should be watched closely. One of the biggest questions to ask is if Spezza would be happy to move. He has a modified no-trade clause which allows him to submit a 10-team list that he can’t be traded for. This has enabled him to stop a trade to Nashville before, and could do the same now.

While it seems likely that Spezza would get better use and play with the Chokers, we don’t know what’s in his heart at the moment. Also, we don’t know how long he will hold out for and how much of a sweet deal Columbus can put together. It all remains to be seen, but keep paying attention. Something has to give.