Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jackets Send Russell to St. Louis

2011/2012 StatsContract Details
To St. LouisPositionAgeGPGAPYears
Cap Hit
Kris RussellDefense24122132$1.3 million
To ColumbusPositionAgeGPGAPYears
Cap Hit
Nikita NikitinDefense2570001$600,000

With the Columbus Blue Jackets dropping another ugly decision on Thursday night, this time a 6-3 loss to the Blackhawks, the axe moved ever closer to the management/coaching staff, so the phones were activated quickly and plans were put into action.

Up first, the Blue Jackets unloaded underachieving defenseman Kris Russell to the St. Louis Blues for a defenseman with a little bit more size in Nikita Nikitin.

The Jackets haven't seen a great deal of defense in front of a goaltender that has been frustrated by his own play and the play of the team in front of him, so with a little bit more size and strength, there is a little bit more help there.  The Jackets are also a cap team, which I am quickly reminded of by some online friends, as they are a team struggling with their own budget and have been able to move some cap space in this deal as well.

The Blues do get some more puck moving potential out of Russell in this deal and Nikitin has been a healthy scratch or a minor-league player for the bulk of his stay in St. Louis, so the deal is certainly an upgrade for them, in a matter of speaking.  It's hard to say where Russell will fit in right now, but we will find out soon enough, once he can step on the ice with his new club.

Salary CapIt's somewhat hard to put a concrete number on the Blue Jackets salary cap situation, but with Kristian Huselius' pending return in the New Year taken into account, they are running up close to the salary cap ceiling, but with all of these shuffles with players up and down from the minors, off and on the injured reserve, it gets awfully complicated.  Let's put it this way, the Jackets are saving themselves some cap space and you can see what their daily math looks like here.

ImplicationsIn the draft, Russell belongs to Darren S., our basement dwelling team at the moment and I don't think this is necessarily the move that is going to save his season.  Darren is now 11 points behind Ryan for 21st spot in the pool and fading quickly on Thursday night.  Russell will have to realize some total potential for Darren to make any sort of ground because of this move, so the implications are for now, moot.

It has been suggested to me that this is going to be the first move of the weekend for the Blue Jackets, with plenty of rumblings on Thursday night that the Islanders may also be next in line for a deal with the Jackets.  If that so happens to be the case, the Jackets will continue to be the focus of many news stories and blog posts over this 3-day weekend.

No comments: