The Columbus Blue Jackets have already pushed quite a few chips to the middle of the table, and now will throw a tip to the dealer. Adam McQuaid is the latest player to be acquired by the Blue Jackets according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, while Darren Dreger of TSN adds that the New York Rangers will receive a 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick. The Rangers’ confirmation of the deal adds that minor league defenseman Julius Bergman was also included in the return.
With this trade, the Rangers recoup the same picks they traded to the Boston Bruins to get McQuaid this off-season, essentially renting the physical blue liner for five months at the cost of depth defender Steven Kampfer. The asking price for McQuaid was rumored to be at least a third-round pick. Following the Dallas Stars’ acquisition of a similar veteran defenseman in Ben Lovejoy from the New Jersey Devils yesterday for a third-rounder and young defenseman Connor Carrick, that price was expected to go up. However, it seems the market never really developed for McQuaid despite the lack of quality rental defenders on the trade block.
The Blue Jackets made their two big trades before deadline day, adding former Ottawa Senators forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, but continue to address their depth in other areas with a second value addition today. After adding former New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid as a solid third-string option in net for just a future fifth-round pick, they add a nice complementary piece on the blue line in McQuaid. Solidifying their defensive depth has been a need for the Blue Jackets and McQuaid fits the bill. The 6’4″, 210-lb. defender is an experienced pro with a Stanley Cup title to his name – the only Blue Jacket with that claim – and brings a strong, physical presence to the right side. McQuaid is likely to slot in as an everyday bottom-pair defenseman for Columbus down the stretch and in the postseason.
Columbus is likely done for the day and for good reason. Although they have addressed many needs and have found good value in several trades, the McQuaid acquisition leaves the Blue Jackets with just their own third-round pick and the Calgary Flames’ seventh-round pick to represent their entire 2019 draft class. GM Jarmo Kekalainen has undoubtedly decided to go all in this season to get Columbus deep into the postseason for the first time in franchise history, but has done so at the cost of the pipeline. The question now is whether it was all worth it.