BC-HKN--Trade Deadline,1st Ld-Writethru
The Columbus Blue Jackets showed they are all in for this season by continuing to add talent at the NHL trade deadline.
The Central Division-leading Winnipeg Jets tried to give themselves a late-season boost by acquiring center Kevin Hayes from the New York Rangers on Monday, while the Colorado Avalanche picked up forward Derick Brassard from Florida.
All three teams were busy, but more trades were expected to be announced later Monday. Among the players who were expected to move were Ottawa’s Mark Stone and Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds.
The Blue Jackets grabbed the day’s early headlines by acquiring defenseman Adam McQuaid from the New York Rangers and goalie Keith Kinkaid from New Jersey. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen actually went to work last week by acquiring Ottawa forwards Ryan Dzingel and Matt Duchene in separate deals.
“I think Jarmo — and that’s what I love about him — I think he’s got some jam. He wants to win,” coach John Tortorella said. “He’s letting the team know, and the team has heard it loud and clear, that he’s worked hard to upgrade our roster.”
The Blue Jackets altered initial expectations in being buyers rather than sellers at the deadline. Aside from their additions, the Blue Jackets retained forward Artemi Panarin and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, two players eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
The additions come at a time the Blue Jackets have won seven of 10 and jumped into third place of the Metropolitan Division standings, a point ahead of Pittsburgh, which is currently out of the playoff picture.
The Jets acquired Hayes by sending forward Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick to the retooling Rangers. Hayes has topped 40 points in four of his five NHL seasons, and is initially projected to take over the second-line center spot alongside Patrik Laine.
“It’s obviously tough to leave New York, but I’m excited to join the Jets,” Hayes said. “I mean, everybody knows how good they are and the type of players they have on their team.”
With 78 points, Winnipeg has a one-point edge on second-place Nashville in the Central Division, and attempting to shake off a slump in which the Jets have gone 3-5-2 in their past 10.
The Avalanche acquired Brassard in a bid to keep pace in a tightly packed group of teams competing for the West’s two wild-card spots. Colorado began the day in ninth place with 65 points, one point behind Minnesota and two back of Dallas.
Brassard is a 12-year-veteran who is switching teams for the second time in three weeks after being dealt to Florida by Pittsburgh.
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno, AP Sports Writer Mitch Stacy in Columbus and freelance writer Denis P. Gorman in New York contributed to this report.
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