Columbus' deadline shopping spree

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Ohio Jones, Mar 19, 2006.

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  1. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

    Feb 28, 2002
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    Great White North
    CD - Columbus

    The phones were busy at the Columbus Blue Jackets offices at Nationwide Arena today as teh HFNHL lurches towards the 2006 Trade Deadline. At the end of today's flurry of activity, the Jackets came away having completed three deals that will strengthen them for this season and next.

    First, the Jackets sent fourth-liners Stephane Yelle (a pending UFA) and Jeff Cowan to Tampa with prospect Jaroslav Balastik and a 5th-round pick for Chris Gratton. This makes the second time Emerson has traded a Florida team for Gratton, having acquired him for a first round pick (and other sundries) from the Panthers two years ago before flipping him to the Rangers in the Brendan Shanahan trade. With the Jackets' top three units performing well at the moment, Gratton will start out on the fourth line, but could move up to provide coach Mike Babcock with a different look, or in case of injury. Next season, however, it is expected Gratton (if he re-signs with COlumbus) will get a shot at the second line RW job.

    Next, the Jackets completed their fourth line by acquiring utility forward Steve Begin from Ottawa for a 4th rounder in 2007 plus cash. Begin, Gratton and Leclerc - all of whom can play different positions - will try different looks to see what the most useful combination is. More exciting will be Begin's contributions next year, as he is finally beginning to live up to his potential as a versatile two-way forward.

    Finally, the Jackets added more depth for hte playoff run by giving San Jose back its third rounder this year for 7th defenceman Brian Pothier. Pothier, considered a PP specialist, will not be in the top 6 for Columbus, but may well be next season.

    With Pothier and Begin earning modest salaries, Emerson still has cap room to maneuver before the final deadline tomorrow afternoon, but all in all, it was a productive and profitable day for Columbus.

    Bring on the playoffs!

    Milo Minderbinder
    Columbus Discoverer
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