The 2021 offseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets has been very eventful so far. From trading Seth Jones to free agency to signing Zach Werenski long-term, Jarmo Kekalainen and company have been very busy this summer.
As it currently stands, the Blue Jackets roster is almost finalized ahead of training camp. It doesn’t seem outrageous to think Jarmo Kekalainen isn’t done making anymore moves before opening night.
The Blue Jackets will open their season on October 14 at Nationwide Arena when they play host to the Arizona Coyotes. If the Blue Jackets want to finish off the 2021 offseason the right way, they may want to consider doing these three things.
Address the Max Domi Situation
Max Domi could be out the first few months due to shoulder surgery recovery. It has been rumored that the Blue Jackets could be shopping the center/winger before the season starts. These rumors come after Columbus left Domi exposed for the expansion draft.
Domi is coming off a season where he tallied only nine goals and 24 points in 54 games. He also struggled with his discipline, racking up 75 penalty minutes. Whenever a player playing on the top two lines averages almost a penalty per game, he becomes more of a liability than an asset.
Once all things are considered, maybe Columbus should opt to trade the struggling star, especially if the return is multiple pieces. If Columbus’ return was a prospect or two plus a decent draft pick, they should definitely pull the trigger.
If Domi is not dealt before the season starts, he could have a serious impact when he returns from injury. Columbus’ lack of offensive firepower down the middle of the ice is very prevalent. Sean Kuraly and Boone Jenner provide more of a defensive approach. Plus, Jack Roslovic will need to take a large step in his progression if he hopes to consistently play on the top line.
However, Columbus can fulfill their need for a top line center without Domi.
Acquire a First Line Center
Whether it’s a free agent signing or acquired in a trade, Columbus could use some help at center. Aside from Jenner, Roslovic, Domi and Kuraly, Alexandre Texier and Kevin Stenlund are the only other options at center for Columbus. With the Domi situation in mind, Columbus should highly consider adding an elite center to its roster.
Cap space shouldn’t be much of a concern for Columbus either. They currently sit with over $11 million in cap space with no restricted free agents left to sign on the roster. That is plenty of cap space to get a top center in free agency. At this stage in free agency, there aren’t many long-term options, but another veteran presence for Columbus wouldn’t hurt.
If Columbus opted for a trade, they have a plethora of young defensemen to package alongside Max Domi if they decided to go that route.
Figure Out the Goalies
Just Like Domi, Joonas Korpisalo is rumored to be on the move for Columbus before too long. Matiss Kivlenieks’ tragic death halted any plans of Columbus moving any goalies this offseason. With Korpisalo rumored to be the one to be traded, Elvis Merzlikins would be the starter.
Toronto and Buffalo have been rumored to be potential destinations for Korpisalo. Trading Korpisalo would allow Columbus to address other needs in the return. If Columbus decides to trade Korpisalo prior to the start of the season, it may affect their needs. They may need to acquire a backup goalie to make up for the loss and add depth to the roster.
Cover Image Courtesy of Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.