We all know the Jackets are not going to be sellers this year, and Howson has made it very clear that he will not lose roster players, or young players at the deadline.. Now, do not expect many teams to jump on the few options he has left on the table, but expect there to be plenty of talk regarding Leclaire and possibly Klesla.
Personally, I think Dan LaCosta can become our secondary goaltender, and a guy like Pazzy is far too talented to be the secondary goaltender on an NHL team. Based on that, I think using Leclaire as trade bait either this week or during the off-season would be of great value to them. They can easily cite his poor ankle as the cause of his dip in play, and suggest that his surgery repaired any error in said play.
Second on the block has to be Klesla. His inconsistency in health this year is extremely exhausting for fans. While he is a strong player when on the ice, he does not have chemistry on this roster, and could easily bring back a big name, most notably, Tim Connolly out of Buffalo. That would make the Jackets a far more complete team considering how great Nash and Connolly could play together, and he is a position the Jackets have sorely sought after throughout the last couple years.
There are other options for the Jackets, most notably Vermette and Antropov, but I think the best option is Connolly. If not Connolly, I really think the only other positive option is Vermette, who could give a much needed boost in the center position and their special teams. Optimistically, Vermette or Connolly would only cost them one of either Leclaire or Klesla, which means they could still have off-season ‘sellables’.
Considering the last couple games, it is rather clear that while chemistry is still fairly good within the team, but having this kind of shakeup, even if we need to sweeten the deal with a Novotny or Murray would be extremely beneficial for a playoff push. We will see extremely soon whether Howson is seriously pursuing a trade, and when it happens, I will make sure you all know.
Carry the Flag!