With a six-game skid and injuries galore, it seemed like the Columbus Blue Jackets would be ham-strung to make and kind of trade at Monday’s 3 p.m. deadline. GM Jarmo Kekalainen found a way to try and make the team better. Before we get to that, though, does the laundry list of injuries get any more unbelievable? During last night’s victory over Ottawa, former Blue Jacket Anthony Duclair collided with Jackets’ goalie Elvis Merzlikins. Merzlikins fell backward and struck his head on the ice, though fortunately, his mask remained on the whole time.
With Joonas Korpisalo making his long-awaited return, it was unexpected by all that he would see any ice time right away. Don’t hold your breath. With this team, it is beginning to look like if it’s bad and can happen, it will happen to the Blue Jackets. Korpisalo looked close to his 100% form as he helped the team skate away with two points from the overtime win. In the meantime, Columbus has called up goalie Matiss Kivlenieks from the Cleveland Monsters while Merzlikins is likely going through concussion protocol.
Now, back to those trades!
The first of which was sending former first-round pick Sonny Milano to the Anaheim Ducks for center Devin Shore. The Jackets can always use another center and Shore will likely find a home on the third or fourth line. At the time of this article, Shore has 10 points on the season in the form of four goals and six assists along with a -8 rating.
Milano is a player I cannot say will be missed. For the last two seasons, I have heard how Milano has great offensive skills. I will say evidence of that surfaced earlier this season when he landed an absolutely filthy between-the-legs shot against Dallas. The reality is that was a very fleeting moment. He doesn’t score much and he plays defense even less.
If he played basketball, that wouldn’t be a problem in the NBA where defense really isn’t a thing anymore. However, it is still and always will be a vital attribute in hockey. If you’re not willing to help your team out at both ends of the ice, there likely isn’t a spot for you on the roster, and with recently decreased ice time, Milano will get a change of scenery.
The second and less publicized trade involved Columbus trading left wing Markus Hannikainen to the Arizona Coyotes for a conditional 7th round pick. The asterisk attached to the deal is Columbus only gets that 7th rounder if Hannikainen plays at least 10 games for the Coyotes. While I didn’t really want to see him dealt, the deal makes sense as it’s a crowded room and Hannikainen wasn’t setting himself apart from the competition. Always the professional, though, the man knew how to handle himself with reporters, his teammates and the public.