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Malkin on the Move

2021-03-12

The Metropolitan Division leading New York Rangers got a boost to their lineup Friday as they acquired superstar center Evgeni Malkin from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin should slot into a top line with Patrick Kane that is sure to have goaltenders shaking with fear.  The Blue Jackets were rumoured to have been seeking a trade partner for Malkin since early in the offseason when GM Andrew Payeur announced the decision that the team would be undergoing a rebuild in light of several players approaching unrestricted free agency and others entering the declining years of their careers. Malkin fit both criteria as the 34 year old's contract comes to an end at the end of this season. Jackets GM Andrew Payeur met with the media via Zoom after news of the trade broke and mentioned that the team had been considering using the franchise tag to retain Malkin past this season however Payeur felt that a trade was in the best interest of both parties. "Evgeni has been a great player for us since coming over last offseason, unfortunately we expect a three year turnaround to get back to being contenders and we felt that a 23 year old Phil Tomasino could help us more to achieve our goals than a 38 year old Evgeni Malkin." 

The Rangers do not have a Franchise Player tag available until future offseasons and so in all likelihood, Malkin will be entering free agency this summer where he is sure to court multiple max offers. In New York, Malkin is reuinted with former Blue Jackets teamates Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber, the three comprised a core in Columbus that disapointed on multiple levels. The Stanley Cup contending roster would fail to win the Metropolitan Division and was unable to move past the second round of the playoffs. Rangers coach David Quinn will likely be reviewing 2019-20 Blue Jackets game film to learn from Bruce Cassidy's mistakes and learn how best to deploy the trio.

Incoming to the Blue Jackets are prospect Philip Tomasino, a 1st round pick in 2021 and Ondrej Kase. Kase has flashed top 6 potential early in his career but has battled a lack of consistency and health issues which have kept him from a truly breakout season. Payeur hopes that added opportunities and a fresh start will propel him to the next level of his potential. In Tomasino the Blue Jackets get a propsect who oozes offensive potential and projects to play in the teams top 6 within the next few years. He possesses plus skating, vision, shot and work ethic but like most young players could use some work crafting his defensize game. 

A growing joke amoung players in the Blue Jackets organization is that it's only a matter of time before the end up in New York. Malkin will bring the total number of former Blue Jackets on the Rangers roster to 8. 




Thomas Gidlow

Nice writeup sir! End of an era perhaps, start of a new one?

Malkin on the Move
Blue Jackets continue rebuild

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