The Columbus Blue Jackets are “engaged in trade dialogue with teams” about moving a defenseman off their NHL roster, sources tell Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Seravalli adds these talks are “likely centered” around one of Jake Bean, Adam Boqvist and Andrew Peeke, but that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is likely to “move whomever they find gets them most back.” The team’s roster crunch on defense left a pair of young defenders expected to earn NHL jobs, Nick Blankenburg and David Jiricek, off the team’s opening night roster yesterday.
This roster crunch didn’t come out of nowhere. After injuries depleted the Blue Jackets’ blueline depth for most of last season, Kekalainen acquired a pair of top-four defenders via trade back in June: Ivan Provorov from the Flyers and Damon Severson from the Devils. It would make sense, then, that both of those players are untouchables, as well as their top defenseman, Zach Werenski. The seventh defenseman on the active roster, Erik Gudbranson, carries a ten-team no-trade list and is locked into a rather unattractive $4MM cap hit through 2026.
That means the three defensemen Seravalli mentioned are the only realistic possibilities to get moved, and it’s hard to imagine Bean and Peeke would attract higher trade value than Boqvist. The 23-year-old right-shot defender was a core piece of the trade that sent Seth Jones to the Blackhawks in 2021. While injuries have affected his time in Columbus, he looks well on his way to becoming an everyday top-four player.
Selected eighth overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, Boqvist has 16 goals, 30 assists and 46 points in 98 games as a Blue Jacket. He’s received sheltered minutes, however, skating an average of just 17:47 per game since 2021. He is entering the second season of a three-year, $7.8MM contract carrying a $2.6MM cap hit. That’s quite an affordable number for his services and could likely fetch a first- or second-round pick in return.
Boqvist is projected to begin the season flanking Provorov on the team’s second pairing. If he’s moved, expect the Blue Jackets to recall Jiricek from AHL Cleveland to occupy the void.
It’s tougher to gauge Bean’s potential trade value. He’s two years older than Boqvist and was limited to just 14 games last season due to a shoulder injury. He also carries the pedigree of being a former first-round pick – the Hurricanes selected him 13th overall in 2016 – but doesn’t have the linear development track record of Boqvist. At a cap hit of $2.33MM and on an expiring contract, there’s more uncertainty attached to acquiring Bean than Boqvist.
Peeke has shouldered the heaviest minutes out of the potential trade trio as of late, but that doesn’t mean he’s done so successfully. The 25-year-old right-shot defenseman logged a -41 rating last season and had the unfortunate honor of being one of Columbus’ few healthy defenders throughout the season, having to take the brunt of the team’s depth issues. He notched 13 points in 80 games and averaged over 21 minutes a game for the second straight season, but his $2.75MM cap hit through 2026 carries some risk if he doesn’t pan out in a bottom-four role somewhere else.