Blue Jackets Rumors

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is hoping to add a puck-moving defenseman via trade, but he’s not desperate to do so. Howson reiterated today that he’s not burning up phone lines or begging his fellow GMs for help.

“We’d like to make an upgrade, sure,” Howson said. “But if we don’t get a deal done, I’m fine taking this group of defensemen into the start of the season with us. We think it’s a good group; a group that can win games for you.”

Howson also said no trades are imminent and none are currently in the works, but the Blue Jackets do have “feelers” out with a few clubs. He would not comment publicly on any possible trade partners.

Vancouver, which has two too many defensemen, is a club that is known to have had at least preliminary talks with the Blue Jackets, though a source tells The Dispatch that no names have been exchanged.

The Canucks have pulled back from the table, and Howson — not wanting to appear desperate — is not banging the drum to make a deal, either. It could be days, weeks or a month or more before something is consummated.

Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle and Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray are both known to be on the market. Howson won’t make an outrageous deal to acquire either of them, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he’s made phone calls.

And it wouldn’t be a shock if nothing happens until August.

Side dishes:

— Just got off the phone with NHL coach, catching up over the off-season. When talk turned to Nikolai Zherdev’s soon-to-be signing with the Flyers, he said: “If anybody can get Zherdev turned around, it’s Holmgren.” That would be Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. Looks like Zherdev is signing a one-year deal with Philadelphia, who is now trying to dump Simon Gagne to make salary cap room.

— When former Blue Jackets left winger/enforcer Jody Shelley signed a three-year, $3 million contract with the Flyers last week, I’m guessing the names “Nikolai” and “Zherdev” were no where near his mind. I would have loved to see the look on Shelley’s face when he first heard about Zherdev’s signing. The two didn’t have issues, but let’s just say they’re from two different worlds.

— The Blue Jackets have four goaltenders with NHL provisions in their contracts — Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon on NHL deals, and Gustaf Wesslau and David LeNeveu on AHL/NHL contracts. They could be yet looking for another. If five looks like overkill, just remember two seasons ago when Mason was hurt, Wade “Dubie” Dubielewicz was sick and Dan LaCosta had to pinch hit? Point is, one injury is no big deal. Two is sketchy. Three is a disaster. A team has to be covered. If they sign another, it’ll be a guy willing to do time in the ECHL.

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