New York Islanders Metropolitan Division Stronger After Free Agency

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 9: Jordan Eberle
EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 9: Jordan Eberle /
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CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: Artemi Panarin
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: Artemi Panarin /

Columbus Blue Jackets

In their never ending quest to not fall victim of the salary cap and fall into irrelevancy, the Chicago Blackhawks constantly reinvent themselves. And the Columbus Blue Jackets are there to help, again.

A few seasons ago they acquire the young Brandon Saad from the Blackhawks for Artem Anisimov and a few other names. This time the Blue Jackets are receiving 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin. For Brandon Saad and a few other bits.

Columbus Blue Jackets Off-Season Moves:

In 2017-18 we’ll finally see if Panarin’s 2016 Calder Trophy was of his own merit, or if he owes former linemate, Patrick Kane, a big thanks for everything he did.

His back-to-back 70+ points seasons are a fantastic feat. But in Columbus, he won’t have the likes of Patrick Kane to open up play for him. Instead, he’ll have to rely on Nick Foligno to help him show the world he’s his own player.

After that the Blue Jackets trimmed some fat in David Clarkson and Scott Hartnell. And weren’t prepared to gamble on Sam Gagner again. As the 50 point player, costing only $650,000 on the cap signed with the Vancouver Canucks for $3.15 million per year, for three years.

The Blue Jackets were already good. Are they better? We’ll have to wait and see. Brandon Saad continued to be as prolific when he left the windy city. If Panarin can do the same, Columbus might just be a force to be reckoned with in 2017-18.