The Columbus Blue Jackets have started their selling and trading process prior to the deadline, sending forward Antoine Vermette to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for two draft picks, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Columbus gets a 2012 2nd-round pick (Ottawa’s), and a conditional 2013 5th-round pick (it becomes a 4th-round pick if Phoenix wins a playoff round this year) along with goalie Curtis McElhinney.
The 29-year-old center has eight goals and 27 points in 60 games and scored 27 goals as recently as the 2009-2010 season. Phoenix is tied with San Jose for the Pacific Division lead and SOS NHL analyst Daniel Friedman says that “Phoenix gets some much-needed depth down the middle and the Jackets open up a roster spot. An intriguing move.”
This will be the first of likely several trades for the Blue Jackets prior to Monday’s trade deadline. Will Rick Nash or Jeff Carter be next?
Sharks Interested In Nash?
San Jose was blown out at Columbus on Tuesday night, and the Sharks could use an offensive talent like Rick Nash. San Jose is a strong contender for Nash, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, but the Blue Jackets wanted Logan Couture and that was deemed “a nonstarter.” Nash has a no-movement clause and he won’t accept a deal he does not think will be a good fit.
Columbus is talking with teams on a bunch of players, according to Dreger, including Jeff Carter who scored a hat trick against the Sharks. There has been a lot of creativity from teams looking to boost their playoff chances as Columbus GM Scott Howson looks to build for the future.
Toronto Moving Defense?
Also from his TSN article, Darren Dreger reports that Toronto could move some defensive players before the deadline. While Luke Schenn will probably stay put, Carl Gunnarson, Cody Franson and Keith Aulie are drawing interest from teams like Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, Edmonton and Winnipeg. The Oilers are also hoping they can move Alex Hemsky.
Another Leafs player who can go is Mikhail Grabovsky, according to the Toronto Sun, as the team gets antsy prior to the trade deadline.
Ottawa Gears Up For Deadline
The Senators are most likely not moving D Filip Kuba and may have already made its biggest move in Kyle Turris. The team would rather acquire a young player with upside rather than a veteran.
NEW YORK– By Mo Miller
Entering the 2012 season, it’s been six years since the Mets have made the playoffs. The last three years have been dreadful, seasons to forget. Coming into the 2012 season, things look bleak. The Mets are rebuilding and waiting for their prospects to grow and become Major League ready. However, if things go right the Mets could be a competitive team and surprise many people. Here are some of the story lines coming into the 2012 season.
Johan Santana- Since joining the Mets Santana has had trouble staying healthy. Can he remain in the rotation all season? Can Santana return to something resembling his old Cy Young form? How much will fatigue factor into Santana’s pitching considering he hasn’t pitched in a Major League game in close to 18 months?
Jason Bay- Two years into the Jason Bay contract, and so far it hasn’t looked good for anyone. In Bay’s two years as a Met, he’s combined for a .251 average, with 18 HR’s and 108 RBI’s. Combined. In two seasons. So what will 2102 hold for Jason Bay? With the outfield walls coming in and coming down, will Bay’s offensive numbers improve? Will Bay return to the offensive threat he was in Boston and Pittsburgh?
Mike Pelfrey- After a good 2010, Pelfrey was awful in 2011, going 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA. Will Pelfrey return to 2010 form and lower his large ERA? Pelfrey gave up 21 home runs in 2011, so can he re-find that sinker, that was so good in 2010, and keep the ball down?
David Wright- Wright is coming off a year where he had a back injury and only played 102 games. Wright’s contract has a $16 million club option for 2013. Were Wright’s offensive problems because of his back issue alone? Will Wright get traded at the trade deadline if the Mets are not in contention? What type of offensive threat will Wright be? Will he show his opposite field power again and return to old form?
Josh Thole- Mets GM Sandy Alderson & Co. decided not to pursue a veteran catcher and go with the youngsters in Thole and Mike Nickeas. Thole’s defense was lacking last year and at times he looked lost behind the plate; he led the NL with 16 passed balls. Can Thole improve on his defense and be competent behind the plate? Thole, who was expected to be a good average hitter, hit a woeful .268 in 2011. Can Thole improve on his offense and raise his average close to .300?
Jonathon Niese- Niese has had trouble his whole career staying healthy. Can he stay healthy for a full season in 2012? At times in 2011 Niese looked like an All-Star with an amazing curveball. Can Niese return to that form and be consistent with his best pitch?
Ruben Tejada- The Mets let Jose Reyes walk, handing the shortstop reigns to the 22-year-old Tejada. It is clear Tejada can play shortstop at a Major League level, but can he play it over a long 162 game campaign? Tejada’s offense was very up and down in 2011, at times looking like he could hit in the Majors, but often not being able to get the ball out of the infield? Who is the real Tejada? Can he hit well consistently over the span of the long season?
Daniel Murphy- The past two seasons, Murphy has had trouble staying healthy, getting both knees blown out the past two years. One thing for sure is Murphy can hit, hitting .320 in 109 games last season. The Mets are ready to give Murphy the everyday job at 2B, but can he defend it properly? Can he turn the double play, something he had trouble doing in 2011?
Bullpen- Yet again, the Mets had problems in the bullpen in 20111. Alderson & Co. made the bullpen a priority over the off-season, signing Frank Fransisco and Jon Rauch, while trading for Ramon Ramirez. Can the bullpen finally be stable? Can they close out games and hold leads for the Mets? Can they keep games close and give the Mets an opportunity to come back and win games late?
These are just some of the questions that need to be answered yes for the Mets to be successful in 2012.