In a somewhat stunning series of moves, the Columbus Blue Jackets went out and got two top-four caliber defenders on the trade market this week in Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson. Considering how early in the offseason they made these moves, it’s clear that upgrading on defense has been a priority of general manager Jarmo Kekalainen’s for quite some time.
Late Friday night, The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta reported the Blue Jackets had also set their sights on Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues, likely as a backup plan in case one of the two transactions they pulled off fell through.
The imposing 6-foot-6 defender is one of the big trade bait pieces on the board this offseason – along with many other of his Blues teammates on defense. It could be a tough transaction to make for St. Louis, though, as the injury-prone 30-year-old is still locked in at a $6.5MM cap hit for seven (yes, seven) more seasons and carries full trade protection.
It hasn’t dissuaded teams from calling, though, as Pagnotta said Columbus isn’t the only team to have demonstrated interest in Parayko’s services so far this offseason. The right-shot D-man’s prospective spot in the Columbus lineup surely disappeared after acquiring Severson this morning, as the team still needs space in the lineup to ice youngsters Adam Boqvist and David Jiricek on the right side.
If a team is to make a successful trade for Parayko, it would surely involve a third-party team to retain some salary. That’s where concerns surrounding his term come in, though – how many assets would the team trading for Parayko need to pay a broker like the Chicago Blackhawks to be on the hook for seven more seasons of Parayko’s deal, even at a marginal cap hit? Few teams would anticipate not spending close to the cap for that stretch of time.