On Saturday, general manager Scott Howson announced the Jackets had claimed former Buffalo Sabres captain Craig Rivet off waivers. Rivet will join the Jackets in time before their game Sunday against the Nashville Predators.
This now gives the Blue Jackets too many defenseman. They will now look to make space for Rivet. Rostislav Klesla, who is getting ready to return from injury, has been drawing interest from several teams. Jan Hejda is another name that has been brought up, as he has an expiring contract at the end of the season.
Rivet has struggled this year in Buffalo, spending time with both the Sabres and AHL affiliate Portland. He has only played 23 NHL games this season, registering one goal and three points, which led to the Sabres placing him on waivers.
Although this has not been Rivet's idea of a great season, he is a true team player and brings his leadership to a group of youngsters in Columbus.
Rivet started his career in 1994 with the Montreal Canadiens, and has played for the Sharks and Sabres as well. Another important asset Rivet brings to Columbus is something that the Jackets have little of, playoff experience. Rivet has registered four goals and 19 assists as well as 69 penalty minutes in 69 career playoff games.
Those Blue Jackets that have had playoff experience probably don't remember it as it ended so quickly. The Jackets were swept in the franchise's only playoff appearance, compliments of the Detroit Red Wings.
I have been looking around to see what Jackets' fans have been saying about the move. Not a lot of people seem excited about it. Several Buffalo fans have thanked the Blue Jackets for taking Rivet off of their hands. They have said Rivet is washed up and could no longer compete at the NHL level.
Rivet's best days may be behind him, but his experience could be a huge help as the Jackets look to make it to the playoffs for only the second time in ten years.
Rivet will most likely be a loan for the rest of the season as his contract will also expire in July.
There may be another player out there that could fill Columbus' long term need for an offensive-minded d-man, and one may be on the way. According to ESPN.com, it has been reported that Colorado Avalanche defenseman John Michael-Liles has stated he would be interested in coming to Columbus to play for the Jackets.
The Blue Jackets have been looking to fill the void on defense for quite some time, and Liles would fill that role nicely. Liles currently leads the Avalanche in assists with 33, but has struggled during Colorado's recent downward spiral. Maybe a change of scenery is just what Liles needs.
If the Jackets plan to add Liles, they will probably have to pay Colorado a hefty price. Howson has already stated he is willing to deal the Jackets first round pick for next years NHL Entry Draft. The pick, possibly combined with young prospect Nikita Filatov and one of their expiring contracts, may be enough to satisfy the Avalanche.
Regardless, if Howson is able to pull off a deal for Liles, he would definitely bolster Columbus' defense and could possibly put Columbus over the playoff bar in April.
With a little under 46 hours left before the trade deadline, it will be interesting to see who the Jackets will go after and who could be playing their last game in a Blue Jackets uniform tomorrow afternoon in Nashville.
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