The Seth Jones decision looms for Columbus
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic: Starting July 1st, Columbus can talk extension with Seth Jones and his agent Pat Brisson. Jones went on record saying he is open to a new deal. The next several weeks will be telling in what direction this goes. Jarmo Kekalainen will have to throw the checkbook out here but what if Jones indicates that it is not enough.
Keep in mind, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ defenseman holds a giant sledgehammer in these negotiations. Also, the Blue Jackets have been pretty dreadful this season and are five points out of a playoff spot.
If Jones stays, a quick retool and turnaround is less difficult. It remains a challenge because Columbus must work on John Tortorella, Patrik Laine, David Savard, etc., etc. If Jones wants to leave, damage mitigation is needed right away as Kekalainen will have to make quite a few moves, including Jones maybe in the summer.
The reputation damage will take a long, long time to recover. So, Columbus will have to hope and pray that Jones stays.
Expansion draft questions and the Vancouver Canucks
Harman Dayal of The Athletic (mailbag): Sadly for Vancouver fans, Vasili Podkolzin will debut next season in Vancouver due to IIHF obligations (the Worlds are still on). Another concern may be assistant Ian Clark considering he departed Columbus three years ago and his decision was made around the trade deadline then. Stay tuned on that one.
Some expansion targets may include Warren Foegele from Carolina. Foegele has a game tailored-made for a middle-six role in Vancouver.
Colorado faces an impending problem with defensemen. Devon Toews and Ryan Graves may be exposed. Toews is the no-brainer with his British Columbia ties and defensive skills. Both would be excellent additions.
Looking around the Avalanche landscape could net Vancouver a nice defenseman here. Toews has an all-world game while Graves would be an instant replacement for Alexander Edler and at a much younger age of 24.