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Numbers Game: Senators, Blue Jackets trade

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Scott Cullen
7/1/2012 4:21:50 PM
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The Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators struck a deal from positions of excess to address other lineup needs.

Numbers Game examines the Nick Foligno-Marc Methot trade.

The Blue Jackets Get: LW Nick Foligno.

Foligno, 24, is coming off a breakthrough season in which he scored 15 goals and a career-high 47 points while accumulating a career-high 124 penalty minutes.

Foligno, who played 14:39 per game, was one of three players (Kyle Wellwood and Viktor Stalberg were the others) to play fewer than 15 minutes per game and finish with more than 40 points on the season. He's evolving as an agitator who may have enough skill to play in a top six role.

In Columbus, Foligno figures to get more ice time, but he'll be more responsible for creating offence because the Blue Jackets, as currently constructed, don't have the same kind of supporting cast.

Foligno, who was earning $1.2-million against the cap last season, is currently a restricted free agent, so he's due for a raise, though it would make sense to not dive in long-term until he shows what he can do with Columbus.

The Senators Get: D Marc Methot.

Methot is a 27-year-old stay-at-home blueliner whose season was shortened when he suffered a fractured jaw in early February and finished a career-low minus-11 in just 46 games while logging a career-high 20:03 average time on ice.

With the Senators losing Filip Kuba as a free agent today, there is a natural spot for Mathot to take on the Ottawa blueline. Paired with Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, Methot can focus on defensive responsibilities, allowing Karlsson to join the attack.

Methot is under contract for three more seasons, at $3-million a pop, not an unreasonable price for a defenceman that can play 20-plus minutes per game.

Given their depth up front, signing Guillaume Latendresse and with prospects like Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone on the way, it's understandable that the Senators felt Foligno was expendable, particularly to address a need and Methot, an Ottawa native, should be better value over the next three years than Kuba.

From the Blue Jackets' perspective, they have invested enough in other blueliners (James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin and Nikita Nikitin) that Methot was likewise expendable and Columbus had better hope that Foligno can continue to grow offensively, with a 20-goal ceiling certainly not out of the question for what he might be able to contribute.

Currently, it seems a deal in which both clubs are dealing from a position of relative strength, meeting each other's needs. Given the ease with which teams tend to find wingers, as opposed to steady defencemen, there may be a slight edge for the Sens in this swap.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Nick Foligno (Photo: Rich Lam/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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