The first Blue Jacket to fly off the racks this week was former 27-goal scorer Antoine Vermette. The handy supporting cast scorer fetched a 2012 second-round pick from Phoenix along with a fifth-round pick in 2013 goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
And so the great Columbus sell-off began in earnest.
“This is moving forward,” Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said, according to the Columbus Dispatach. “We have to move forward. It wasn't working this season as we expected. We're going to move forward and this is part of the process of reshaping the team.”
McElhinney is recovering from abdominal surgery and is not expected to play again this season. He is a pending free agent as well. The Coyotes needed to get him off their 50-man roster to create space for positive additions.
The Blue Jackets played along to facilitate this deal, which moved Vermette’s onerous four-year, $15 million contract down the trail.
“This gives us more flexibility,” Howson said. “It's never fun trading anybody. I don't think any GM enjoys that. But this is about us moving the team forward.”
Blue Jackets power forward Rick Nash remains the primary trade target for other teams. Interest in Nash is running high from the East Coast (Rangers) to West Coast (Sharks) and just about everywhere in between.
Columbus would love to pry Logan Couture from San Jose, but so far the Sharks haven’t been willing to go to that extreme to get Nash.