The Columbus Blue Jackets have sent Jacob Graves and a conditional 2019 sixth-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for 22-year old forward Ryan MacInnis. If MacInnis plays 20 NHL games this season, the Coyotes would receive a 2020 fifth-round pick instead. Graves and MacInnis are both on the final years of their entry-level contracts and will be restricted free agents next summer.
Columbus has been notoriously thin down the middle for the last few seasons while having a surplus of young defenders, making this deal just a move to secure some depth for the organization. MacInnis was originally selected in the second round by the Coyotes in 2014, but hasn’t been able to find any of the scoring touch he showed in junior and had slipped down the depth chart in the minor leagues. The son of legendary NHL defenseman Al MacInnis will try to find new heights after getting a fresh start with the Blue Jackets organization.
Graves—who bears no relation to NHL All-Star Adam Graves—has been in the Columbus organization since signing his entry-level deal in 2016 fresh off winning a Memorial Cup with the London Knights. The defensive defenseman has split his minor league seasons between the ECHL and AHL and is unlikely to ever make an impact at the NHL level, but had to be included for the Blue Jackets to keep some contract slots open for other signings. The Coyotes are in a tougher boat when it comes to that, as they are currently at the 50-contract limit with Marek Langhamer still to sign. They will be able to create some room by sending players back to junior, but are still in a complicated roster position.