The Columbus Blue Jackets were in the race for Matt Duchene before he was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.
With Duchene now off the trade board, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Blue Jackets are looking at other options in their quest to acquire a top-six forward.
LeBrun notes the Blue Jackets have one of the deepest defence cores in the NHL and teams are calling to see which blueliners are available.
“The Columbus Blue Jackets top the list [of teams that could’ve used Matt Duchene]," LeBrun said on Thursday's edition of Insider Trading. "[Dreger] and I talked about it for six months that the Blue Jackets were interested in Matt Duchene and I think they feel they made a pretty good offer, but they struck out. That doesn’t change the fact that they feel they still have a void in terms of wanting a top-six centre or at the very least a top-six forward.
"Here’s the thing: They’re eight-deep at the NHL level on defence and teams are calling about their defence. We know that Ryan Murray’s name was in the Colorado conversation [in a possible trade for Matt Duchene], but it does not mean they’re shopping him or looking to move him, but the bottom line is this: They have defencemen, they’re ready to move one and they want to get better up front.”
Along with Murray, the Blue Jackets have Seth Jones, Jack Johnson, David Savard, Zach Werenski, Gabriel Carlsson, Markus Nutivaara and Scott Harrington on their 23-man roster. Harrington has appeared in only two games this season, while Carlsson have dressed five times.
Jones is tied with Artemi Panarin for the team lead in points with 12, while Werenski is tied for third with Bjorkstrand at 10 points through 16 games.
According to CapFriendly, the Blue Jackets have $4.3 million in cap space. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has shown a willingness to make big trades. He traded Brandon Saad to acquire Panarin in the off-season and also dealt Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators for Jones in two seasons ago.
The Blue Jackets have a 9-6-1 record this season, but have dropped their previous three games. Columbus will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.