In a relatively uneventful trade deadline, the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled the trigger on two minor deals that should help the team moving forward.

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The first deal involved the selling of PK specialist LW Jay Pandolfo, who was moved to the Florida Panthers for $200,000. Pandolfo, 34, is one of the top rated defensive forwards in the league with 82DF and was having a career year offensively (18G, 12A in 65GP). Unfortunately, given his contract and current NHL numbers, there would have been no room for him on the Columbus roster passed this season. GM-Eric explained the move in this morning's press conference: "Pandolfo was an instrumental part of our club's success last year and helped us reach the playoffs for the first time. For that we're grateful. However, with the amount of money he makes ($1.95M) and the amount of hair on his body (unlimited, see photo), he just didn't fit in with our plans for next season. To be perfectly honest, he's having a bad NHL season and will have a weak rerate come summer time. Also, with the emergence of LW Jerred Smithson as a reliable defensive player (28 takeaways, 18 giveaways), coupled with the recent acquisition of LW Jay McClement, there wasn't going to be any room for Pandolfo on next year's roster. It's nice to have his big salary off the books and the additional cap space will allow us to beef up our secondary scoring during the summer."


ABOVE: Behind the hair is a man, and that man is Jay Pandolfo. Next to him is GM-Eric's wife, who is wea... YO JAY MAN WHERE'S YOUR HAND AT?!


The second move of the day was a buzzer beater that saw Columbus land LW Jay McClement from the San Jose Sharks just moments before the deadline. Reports confirm that GM-Eric had been watching McClement closely for the past few months and liked his style of play, but had no idea that he was available in the NEFHL. "When his name showed up on the block, I knew I had to get him. I immediately Private Messaged GM-Curtis and offered my 3rd round pick along with LW Matt Pettinger, but Curtis did not appreciate the negative value that Pettinger brought. Taking Pettinger out of the equation sealed the deal. McClement is a player who I find has untapped potential offensively and could really break out in the near-term. Regardless of whether or not that happens, he will always be a very, very strong defensive player. In my mind, we're replacing our old (and hairy) Jay with a younger Jay that has a better upside." In the NHL this season, McClement has 11G, 11A in 63GP, has 33 takeaways, 22 giveaways, and has blocked 40 shots.

With the major pieces now in place for next season, the Blue Jackets can concentrate on finishing the 08-09 campaign on a strong note, developing chemistry with the new players and tweaking line combinations to maximize production. The next few weeks will also be used to showcase the Jackets youth and give players such as Frans Nielsen, T.J. Oshie and Byron Bitz some much-needed NEFHL experience.

The projected line combinations for next season are:

Ryan Malone - Olli Jokinen - T.J. Oshie
Alexander Steen - Dave Bolland - UFA
Jay McClement - Frans Nielsen - Erik Christensen
Jason Strudwick - Jerred Smithson - Byron Bitz

Wade Redden - Shaone Morrisonn
Eric Brewer - Jonas Frogren
Kevin Klein - Thomas Pock
Brent Sopel

Alexander Auld
Vesa Toskala