Blue Jackets fill dire needs with 2 trades
COLUMBUS (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets, in dire need of immediate help on the blue line, have traded a fifth-round draft pick to the Edmonton Oilers for veteran defenseman Nick Schultz.
The 31-year-old Schultz has no goals and four assists in 60 games this season, his third with the Oilers after spending most of his 13-year career in Minnesota.
Two of the Blue Jackets’ top defensemen are sidelined. Fedor Tyutin injured an ankle while playing for Russia in the Olympics and is out for another week or two and prized rookie Ryan Murray (lower body) is day to day.
It was the second big deal of the day for the Blue Jackets, who also dealt forward Marian Gaborik to the Los Angeles Kings for two conditional draft picks.
Gaborik was acquired by the Blue Jackets from the New York Rangers in a draft-deadline deal a year ago. He was the highest-paid Blue Jacket and the sides had not really discussed a new contract, with Gaborik hurt most of the season and the Blue Jackets holding out that he might come on strong late in the year.
Gaborik, who has missed 39 games this season, had five goals and six assists in the first 17 games before missing the next 17 with a sprained left knee.
Then, four shifts into his return, he was hit simultaneously by two Philadelphia players and his collarbone was broken. That resulted in him missing his third Olympics with his native Slovakia as he sat out the next 22 Columbus games.
Heading into Wednesday’s games, the Blue Jackets are tied for third in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division with 69 points (32-25-5) and hold the final playoff qualifying spot.
Rusty Miller can be reached at http://twitter.com/RustyMillerAP