Report: Jackets willing to trade a first-round pick

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are willing to part with one of their three first-round picks in this summer’s draft.

New general manager Jarmo Kekalainen confirmed his willingness to deal to the Columbus Dispatch.

The Jackets have their own first-round pick, plus ones formerly belonging to the Rangers and Kings.

The Jackets also have the NHL’s second-worst offense, so you can imagine what they’re seeking.

Even with Columbus in the playoff race, Kekalainen will be looking to the future. Which is to say, don’t expect the Jackets to be in the market for an aging, pending unrestricted free agent. They’ll want help now and for years to come.

As for potential trading partners, no GM is going to hang up on a counterpart willing to part with a first-round pick. But if¬†Kekalainen is looking for a young scorer, and he’s willing to pay for it, perhaps a call to Anaheim about Bobby Ryan would be a good place to start. If not now, then definitely once the playoffs are done.

Oh, and new Jackets president John Davidson is obviously intimately familiar with the Blues, a budget-conscious team with a number of pending restricted free agents. Would St. Louis be willing to talk about Chris Stewart or Patrik Berglund? Again, maybe not now, but in the summer?