BREAKING: #CBJ have acquired Rene Bourque, William Karlsson and a 2nd round pick in 2015 from ANA in exchange for James Wisniweski.
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) March 2, 2015
So much for keeping him around.
The dealing of James Wisniewski for a prospect, a salary eat, and a second round pick would indicate what many already suspected — that the Columbus Blue Jackets hadn’t put together a roster nearly as powerful as they had initially assumed, and are entering a retooling mode to put them in a competitive position farther down the road.
On the other hand, though, the Blue Jackets chose to extend undersized forward Cam Atkinson just moments before the Wisniewski deal went through — something that many fans thought wouldn’t happen if the team went into rebuild mode.
Upon closer inspection, though, this is the kind of trade that benefits Columbus in the long run — particularly if they think that this season and next won’t see them poised to compete, but the following seasons could feasibly be strong.
The returning pieces are interesting; Rene Borque was likely packaged as a condition of the deal to keep Anaheim cap-compliant and unload a player they’re having trouble with, but William Karlsson and the second round pick are both pretty valuable. Karlsson is a Swedish prospect selected in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and has done well since making the transition from Sweden to North American hockey. He’s spent the season in Norfolk with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, but has an upside potential to reach a top six offensive role for an NHL team in the future. Combined with a second round pick in what’s expected to be a pretty deep draft class, and sending an aging defenseman — even if he does provide value now for a reasonable cap hit — for this kind 0f return is more than worth it.
For Anaheim, though, the fact that they’ve shored up their blue line is immeasurably valuable. The addition of Wisniewski to the defensive corps in Anaheim compensates for the lack of veteran presence brought by recently dealt Ben Lovejoy, while the player brought in for Lovejoy — Simon Despres — can keep their team from adding too many veteran defensemen in a playoff push.