It's been a busy day in Columbus.
Hours after agreeing to terms with Patrik Laine on a lucrative contract extension, the Columbus Blue Jackets got to work once again, trading forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a third and fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft.
A move needed to happen to accommodate Laine's new $8.7 million cap hit. But this one is tough to swallow.
Bjorkstrand is one of the most underrated players in the entire NHL, a forward who has a good grasp on pretty much everything, can drive play at even-strength, and is an effective power-play contributor, too. The 27-year-od is coming off a career year in which he racked up 28 goals and 29 assists for 57 points in 80 games while averaging nearly 18 minutes of ice time per night.
Normally, teams would do anything to keep their grip on a player like that. But with the signings of Laine, Johnny Gaudreau, and Erik Gudbranson counting for a combined $22.4 million, the Blue Jackets found themselves well over the salary cap and desperately needed to shed some money.
Bjorkstrand fit that bill, it seems, as the native of Denmark is under contract for the next four years at a cap hit of $5.4 million. Trading him for nothing but draft picks now puts the Blue Jackets just over the cap by less than $1 million, according to CapFriendly, which will likely change once the team trims their roster and sorts out their players' injury status following training camp.
For the Kraken, they receive a phenomenal forward asset for pennies on the dollar, adding to a roster that looks to take a step forward after a disappointing inaugural campaign.