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Columbus Blue Jackets

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According to the Daily Herald, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets are believed to have expressed serious interest in Chicago winger Patrick Sharp. The author explains that Sharp would likely bring the highest return of any of the Hawks’ players rumored to be on the trading block, in the form of a high draft pick of top prospect. One rival executive deemed Sharp to be “one of those players every team loves to have” and who has “no flaws in his game”.

The Toronto-Sharp connection has been red hot for over a year now, as the Daily Herald reported last summer that the Hawks and Leafs had already been discussing a potential swap. At the time, ESPN had speculated a return of an affordable defenseman along with a high end prospect. The 28 year old Sharp scored 25 goals and 66 points during the regular season, and stepped it up to the tune of 11 goals and 22 points during the Hawk’s Stanley Cup run.

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A couple weeks ago, we heard from Aaron Portzline that Columbus could be preparing to field an offer from the Toronto Maple Leafs involving Tomas Kaberle for the 4th overall selection in this June’s draft.

Today’s Columbus Dispatch blog provides more insight into what the Blue Jackets could do with that pick. Portzline explains that the team has been very quiet about its intentions because after Hall/Seguin, several names (Fowler, Gudbranson, Connolly, Gormley) are interchangeable within the next few picks. Columbus could seek to trade down a few spots or even out of the top 10 altogether if the offer was “really sweet”. Aaron hears that the Blue Jackets would not even entertain the notion of trading the 4th overall pick straight up for Senators’ top centre Jason Spezza, which should give you an indication of its worth to them.

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It seems the “Kaberle to Columbus for the 4th overall pick” speculation is picking up some steam. Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets beat writer for the Columbus Dispatch  had this to say in his hockey blog this afternoon:

“The rumor percolating in Canada that Toronto will offer defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Blue Jackets for the No. 4 pick appears to be just that — a rumor. But don’t be surprised, we’re told, if Toronto GM Brian Burke makes that offer in the days or hours leading up to the NHL entry draft, set for June 25-26 in Los Angeles. It’s an enticing trade, to be sure, as Kaberle is a very polished and skilled defenseman. But would Howson make that trade? Hard to say. On the surface, it’s a very fair offer, as it immediately fills one of the Blue Jackets’ glaring needs. But look further, and it’s the kind of trade that Howson — and lots of other GMs — would be reluctant to make. Kaberle is signed at $4.25 million — a fair wage — but only for one more season. He’s an unrestricted free agent after the 2010-11 season. It seems unlikely that Howson would give up the No. 4 overall pick for one season of Kaberle.”

Now this is interesting on a number of levels. The first being that this is the first source, and a Columbus one at that, other than Steve Simmons’ speculative article that connects Kaberle to trade talks for the 4th overall pick. However, there is always the possibility that the writer is simply basing these assumptions on the same article we already know about. The second point is that the writer, and I’m assuming he’s a Jackets fan, believes the trade offer to be “very fair” as it “fills one of their glaring needs”. Lastly, Portzline suggests that it’s unlikely Howson would give up such a high draft pick for “one year of Kaberle”, possibly hinting at the fact that Columbus would give it some serious thought if Tomas came with a multi-year contract extension. Food for thought.

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    Mike Peca, also known as the little engine who could, has officially called it a career today. The 35-year old grinding leader played 864 career games with the Canucks, Sabres, Islanders, Oilers, Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets.  During that time, he tallied 176 goals, 289 assists and 798 penalty minutes.  On two seperate occasions, he reached the Stanley Cup Finals (Buffalo in 1999 and Edmonton 2006).  He also helped Canada capture the gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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      A Kessel fight, a Blake goal (or two), and a Kulemin shortie.  It was a night of rarities as the Leafs took it to Columbus with a decisive 6-3 victory. Toronto beat the Blue Jackets to loose pucks all night long, forced turnovers with their speed, and miraculously capitalized on their chances.

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        The Toronto Maple Leafs continue their 3 game road swing tonight as they visit Columbus to take on Rick Nash and his Blue Jackets. The Leafs will be without both Jonas Gustavsson and Carl Gunnarsson for the trip, and Vesa Toskala will be in the lineup as MacDonald’s backup for the tilt.

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          By: Gus Katsaros
          Prior to the season starting, I had written about the impact of schedules. In particular, as the Leafs face the Habs tonight after playing the previous night, while Montreal is rested. Interesting enough, the last time this happened, Toronto beat Detroit 5-1.

          Schedules make a big difference in the results of NHL teams fates during the season. In some instances, it could be the difference between a playoff spot and a tee time (and I thoroughly enjoy both – FORRRREEEE!!).

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            • Mike Van Ryn has some interest with an expiring contract, affordable cap hit and considering he played well when in the lineup last year.
            • White is a Wilson & Burke favourite, but if Burke can maximize the return on White he would heavily consider moving him as he will command a hefty pay raise after this season.

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              Just got a tip that the Stralman-Primeau swap is the tip of the iceberg to something larger happening in Toronto.   Being told to keep an eye on the Blue Jackets – Brassard and Klesla are two names that have been bandied about in the rumour mill.

              There has been a lot of talk surrounding Columbus, Vancouver and St. Louis during the past week.   The *suspicion* is that today’s Stralman trade was a necessary move to facilitate another, larger move with one of the three aforementioned teams.

              Speculate away, folks.  Things are getting real interesting, real fast.  Updates will come as I receive them.

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                Looks like we can get ready to cross off another free agent target off the list. A few weeks after Blue Jackets sniper Rick Nash agreed to an 8 year, $62.5M contract to stay in Columbus, a Russian source is reporting that the Atlanta Thrashers are expected to ink star winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a record-setting contract worth $11.36M a season, which is 20% of the team’s total cap ($58.6M) and the maximum salary a player can receive under the current CBA. The two-time 50 goal scorer will now shatter Ovechkin’s previous record annual salary of $9M a year.

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                  Western Conference:

                  San Jose Sharks (1) vs Anaheim Ducks (8)
                  Preseason odds: Sharks 10/1 Ducks 12/1
                  Last 10: Sharks 5-4-1, Ducks 7-2-1
                  Season Series: Sharks win 4-2-0

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                    It’s been 9 days since the deadline and already certain teams are rising and others are falling based on their performance on the “mayday” trade day. Here’s a closer look at how a few teams and players are fairing since the event transpired:

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                      A rather solid home game by the Leafs saw them come out on the short side of the stick in extra time (yet again), but a fair share of positives came out of tonight’s matchup.  Justin Pogge played a very solid game in net for the Blue and White, and really needs to continue seeing time like this for anyone to get a fair idea of how he will perform in the NHL.  Moreover, most of the Leafs were buzzing all night long, and this game really could have gone either way.

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                        This just in: we can officially put any and all Pascal Leclaire-to-Toronto trade rumours to rest.

                        Courtesy cbssports.com:

                        “Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Pascal Leclaire will undergo ankle surgery Friday that will likely sideline him through the regular season.”

                        So THAT explains why they picked up Wade Dubielewicz last week.

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                          Here’s an interesting little excerpt from Eric Smith’s (Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger) blog over at Hockeybuzz, (props to TML35 for the heads up) that might spur a little armchair GM fantasizing:

                          “With the 2-0 start to the season hinging road trip, Howson looks like he is sharpening his pencil and putting the wheels in motion for a trade. The Jackets have 2 scouts in Toronto tonight

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                            The Leafs are looking to put up a strong performance after back to back stable appearances against the defending champs. With a similar roster, it will be interesting to see how Toskala fairs in net behind the crop.