NHL Trade Deadline Primer: Nick Foligno trade would make sense for Blue Jackets

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The NHL Trade Deadline is Monday, April 12 at 3 p.m. ET. As we get closer to the deadline we will take a look at some individual players who could be moved by then. We continue today Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno.

The Columbus Blue Jackets season is starting to slip away from them. Actually, if we are being honest here it probably already has slipped away from them. As of Tuesday they have won just 14 out of their first 40 games (only one more win than Detroit) this season, are five points out of a playoff spot with three teams between them, and are in seventh place in the eight-team Central Division. Not an ideal spot to be in.

Pierre-Luc Dubois is gone, they can not seem to figure out what they want from the two players they received for him — Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic — and the head coach has an unknown future as the team stumbles in a contract year for him.

The Blue Jackets have exceeded expectations over the past two years as a scrappy underdog, but it just does not seem to be happening this season. At all. So it is probably time to turn the page on this group and start seeing what they can get before the trade deadline on Monday.

Trading your captain is never an easy decision, but the Blue Jackets are not going anywhere this year and there is a chance Foligno leaves in a few months anyway in free agency for nothing. Get some assets for the future.

[Related: ProHockeyTalk’s 2021 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker]

What the return might look like

Unless somebody get really desperate it is hard to imagine the Blue Jackets squeezing a first-round pick out of somebody given where Foligno is at this point.

He is 33 years old, a pending unrestricted free agent, and has pretty much been a 12-goal, 30-point player (per 82 games) the past couple of years. He has six goals in 40 games so far this season. That is third-line production with a solid defensive presence. That is not a game-changer by any means, but he should be a strong complementary piece for a playoff team.

That is second-round pick and mid-level prospect territory.

The most logical landing spots: Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders

Look for teams that need another middle-six forward to bolster their depth, but not necessarily a difference-maker. Boston and Edmonton stand out because both have top-lines that are borderline unstoppable (and in Edmonton’s case, a second line thanks to Leon Draisaitl) but need more help around them.

Wild Card Team: Nashville Predators

Why not? Let’s get weird with this. A couple of weeks ago we were looking at the Predators and trying to figure out whether or not they needed to rebuild and sell off everything that is not nailed to the ground. Now they are back in a playoff position, looking like they have a pretty good chance to make it, and are perhaps now in a position to add at the trade deadline. They could use a little extra offense and Foligno would not cost a ton of assets. It is a good safe move for a team on the bubble that still has playoff goals.

[Related: 15 forwards who could be traded]

Team I want to see just for fun: Pittsburgh Penguins

Just because it would be funny to see Pittsburgh and Columbus make a trade and Foligno, the Blue Jackets’ captain, skating in a Penguins sweater the way their rivalry has played out over the past few years. There have been some intense games, and there is no love lost between the two organizations. The Penguins could probably use some extra forward depth even after they get players back.

NHL Trade Deadline Prediction

The Toronto Maple Leafs for the aforementioned second-round pick and mid-level prospect price.

Foligno would make an already deep forward lineup that much better and the Maple Leafs would have no problem massaging the salary cap enough to fit his remaining contract on the books. This is Toronto’s best chance to win with this core, and they are not going to want to let this opportunity go without a major effort.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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