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4 Columbus Blue Jackets That Could Be on the Trading Block

Patrick DrottarCorrespondent INovember 1, 2011

4 Columbus Blue Jackets That Could Be on the Trading Block

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    With a record of 2-9-1, it is clear that the Columbus Blue Jackets could use some shaking up.

    It was reported by the Columbus Dispatch earlier this week that both head coach Scott Arniel and general manager Scott Howson could be handed their pink slips sooner than anticipated if things do not pick up.

    Former head coach Ken Hitchcock, who is still currently on the Columbus payroll, was said to be contacted about possibly taking over control behind the Columbus bench, as was former Calgary Flames GM Craig Button.

    When asked about the rumors, Button went to his Twitter account to say that the Jackets had yet to contact him.

    As the Blue Jackets may be looking to change up their staff soon, they may also be looking to do the same with some of their players.

    If the team continues to struggle, Columbus may begin to field calls from those contending teams who are looking for some help in their chase for the Cup.

    CBC Sports reported that there were a total of 25 scouts at one of the Blue Jackets' games last week and that the move of one of the team's centers is a possibility.

    If times do not change, these four players could be on the move.

Samuel Pahlsson

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    As mentioned in the previous slide, the Jackets are looking at possibly dealing a center.

    Columbus currently has seven centers on the roster and only four spots, which has forced players like Derick Brassard and youngster Ryan Johansen to gain their playing time at the unnatural position of wing.

    The Jackets have too many players to deal with, and after Jeff Carter returns from IR, he will have to make some room.

    The first possible option to trade is 33-year-old Samuel Pahlsson.

    The Swede is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and could be a temporary solution for a team in need.

    Pahlsson isn't known for his goal-scoring ability, but more for his defensive skill, grit and abrasiveness.

    In his two seasons with the Jackets, Pahlsson has been consistent, only missing three games. He had his best points total last season (20) since 2006-2007 when he had a career high 26 points.

    A team looking for a defensive third or fourth line center could find Pahlsson to be a possible option.

Antoine Vermette

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    If you are a center in Columbus, and your name does not end in Carter, you are not safe. This includes former No. 1 center Antoine Vermette.

    The 29-year-old was a steal three seasons ago when Columbus acquired him for injury-prone goaltender Pascal Leclaire while making a playoff push. In only seven games, Vermette put together seven goals and 13 points and helped the Jackets make the playoffs.

    The following year, he was paired with Rick Nash on the first line and had a career year because of it with 65 points.

    His numbers slipped this past season, centering the second line with RJ Umberger and Kristian Huselius with only 47 points.

    Vermette has shown that when properly paired, he could put up impressive numbers.

    Along with his offensive skills, Vermette is also talented at back-checking and his defensive zone coverage.

    The Quebec native is about to hit his prime and if traded, could bring a lot in return for Columbus.

Derick Brassard

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    Maybe the most marketable center that Columbus would consider dealing is youngster Derick Brassard.

    Brassard has accomplished a lot in only four seasons in the NHL and has a lot of potential for his future. Since the 2008-2009 season, Brassard's numbers have increased every year.

    During the Jackets playoff season in 2008-2009, Brassard had an incredible stretch as he totaled 25 points in 31 games and finished with a plus/minus rating of +17.

    Last season, the pressure was put on him to center the No. 1 line with wings Rick Nash and Jakub Voracek. Although the Jackets struggled at times, and Brassard suffered a broken hand, the 24-year-old still totaled career highs in goals (17), points (47), power-play goals (6), and shots on goal (183).

    Even though those numbers are nowhere close to what he showed in 2009, Brassard has still shown that he can deliver when the pressure is on him.

    If the Jackets look for a spark to save their season, Brassard may be the victim of it.

    With his improving play every season, Brassard still has a lot of room to grow, and teams could be willing to give up a decent amount for his services.

Steve Mason

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    It was no secret last season that the Blue Jackets were looking to deal goaltender Steve Mason before the trade deadline.

    Although they were unable to reach an agreement with any suitor, it was clear that the Jackets were looking for other options at net.

    In the offseason when everyone thought that the Blue Jackets would get a permanent solution through trades or free agency, Columbus hung on to Mason and signed two backups, Curtis Sanford and AHL standout Mark Dekanich.

    The job was Mason's to lose, and in the team's first 11 games this season, he has unfortunately lost it. With injuries to Dekanich and Sanford, Mason has been forced to start 10 of the 11 games and has an unattractive 2-8-1 record.

    However, in his two victories against the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks, Mason has looked impressive, stopping 49 of 51 shots. Before his victory Sunday, Mason got his first break of the season when Allen York stepped in to start against the Chicago Blackhawks.

    Mason showed that he had taken advantage of the much-needed rest.

    When Dekanich returns, Mason will most likely receive another much-needed break, but the question remains—how long will that break be?

    It is assumed that the 25-year-old will get a few starts to get his feet wet when he returns from an ankle injury, and the front office will see what they have behind Mason.

    If Dekanich plays well, he may slowly begin to take over as the team's No. 1, which could make Mason trade bait before the deadline.

    With a cap hit of a little under $3 million, some teams may be willing to make an offer on the 23-year-old Calder Trophy winner.

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