According to Sens Buzz:
Bryan Murray and Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson are closing in on another trade right before Draft Day on Friday. Multiple sources tell me that Murray has a deal in principle to send goaltender Alexander Auld to the Jackets for defenseman Kris Russell.
To start off with, sorry to any fans who thought this was another Heatley post. It looks like Auld has stolen his thunder. But back to the trade, Murray has been interested in Russell for a very, very long time and almost acquired him in the Vermette for LeClaire trade, however, he would face cap problems. Now that it seems as if Brendan Bell will not be re-signed, Jason Smith set to reitre, and one of Christoph Schubert or Alexandre Picard to be traded, there is room for the budding, young defenseman.
The Blue Jackets do not have a backup to Steve Mason since Frederik Norrena and Wade Dubielewicz are set to become Unrestricted Free Agents. Auld fills that role perfectly and is very cheap at 1 mil per year. It also gives Howson some flexibility since this is the last year on Auld's contract and helps burn the log-jam the Jackets have on defense.
First thought. Not a chance Howson would make this trade. At least as currently constructed in this article.
Howson is too smart to make a dumb move like this.
For the most part Howson has made smart calculated trades that haven't come at the expense of his young core players.
Russell is part of that young core.
There is absolutely no way Scott Howson would deal a young 22 year old budding offensive d-men, really the only one currently on the Jackets roster, for a backup goaltender who only has 1 year left on his deal and will then be a UFA.
Now that said I wouldn't be against adding Auld who is slated to make 1 million next year. Forecaster's take:
ASSETS: Has tremendous size for the goaltending position. Covers his angles well and usually lets the puck hit him.
FLAWS: Must avoid flopping down on his knees too quickly. Lacks a little agility to thrive at the NHL level.
CAREER POTENTIAL: No. 2 goaltender.
He played in 43 games last year and had 16w 18l 2.47 GAA and a .911 save%.
There would have to be a whole lot more coming back the Jackets way to make this deal paltable.
Someone in comments of that post suggested a swap of draft picks from 16 up to Ottawa's 9 as part of the package. That would make a little more sense.
Personally Russell is an asset I do not move unless its an absolute no brainer. The Jackets have spent two years developing this kid. His first year as a rookie he notched 2g 8a and a -12 in 67 games. Last year he notched 2g 19a and a -10 in 66 games.
I expect him to build quite a bit on those numbers this coming season.
I know you have to give to get but creating a hole by filling another doesn't do us a whole lot of good. Jumping 7 spots in the draft to grab a guy who probably wouldn't contribute for at least a year, maybe two, certainly would not be enough incentive for me.
We need more skill on the backend, not less.
Besides the Sens just added a defender in Campoli last season that plays a very similar game to Russ.
I certainly wouldn't rule out Howson making a move for Auld in the next few weeks as he does make a lot of sense -- but I expect a different piece going the other direction.
Fire away - thoughts on this rumor?