The trade rumblings in Columbus absolutely refuse to stop, especially after the meeting held behind closed doors on Monday. Not only is Columbus in position to make the playoffs, if they continue to play strong hockey, they could easily start battling for the fourth and fifth spots in the Western Conference.
With these factors in mind, Columbus clearly understands the need to spend money to achieve their goal of having a playoff worthy team, and frankly, I do not blame them! So what trade will happen, and why SHOULD it happen? Are we going to see Weight come to Columbus to avoid giving away any of our current roster? Should we roll out the red and blue carpet for yet another defensemen, this time out of Toronto? What about the underachieving center Vermette out of Ottawa?
If I were Howson, I would personally go after Antoine Vermette, shoring up a major gap in Columbus at center. This could open the door for a fantastic one two punch next year between him and Brassard, as I personally believe Brassard will be a bona-fide number one center before the puck drops next October. While that does not resolve their immediate need for two top centers, I am willing to bet they will be pleasantly surprised about what Vermette can bring to a team when he is not slumping.
Columbus is actually well within the confines of the cap, and as we fans are well aware of, it has far more relevance how much the team is willing to spend, rather than how close we are to the cap. Currently, they have almost seven million in cap room, which means it is all about exactly how much they are willing to part with to make the Jackets a better team down the stretch.
I say that, because I do not necessarily think one trade is going to be enough to satisfy the needs of a severely punished team with few options at center. Fact is, they need an immediate answer at center who can replace Brassard (Vermette), but also another face at center who can make the big plays, and be a role player.
That is exactly where Doug Weight comes in. Slowly finishing his career, I am sure nothing would please him more than getting back into the playoffs with a character team like Columbus. He would also bring the kind of integrity, grit, and knowledge that this team can really use, not to mention the playoff experience.
One thing is clear at this point. A trade is absolutely coming.