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Adrian Aucoin: Should Jackets keep or move him?

Sunday, 03.24.2013 / 7:29 PM / 2013 Trade Deadline

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Adrian Aucoin: Should Jackets keep or move him?
Will Aucoin continue providing leadership down the stretch for the Blue Jackets?

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Adrian Aucoin with the hope he could bring a strong, veteran presence to the team's defense corps.

And while he's not going to put up flashy numbers, the team certainly has improved this season thanks to his presence.

But will Aucoin continue providing that leadership down the stretch for the Blue Jackets?

NHL.com examines the pros and cons to the Blue Jackets making Aucoin available to move prior to the April 3, 2013 NHL Trade Deadline:

ADRIAN AUCOIN

Position: Defenseman

Age: 39

Statistics: 23 games, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, minus-8 rating

Salary status: Aucoin is in the final season of a one-year, $2.25 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Keep him: Thanks to a club-record streak of 12 games without a regulation loss, the Blue Jackets have climbed into the conversation for one of the final Stanley Cup Playoff spots in the Western Conference. Aucoin isn't going to do anything flashy to help them get over the hump, but he's a well-respected veteran leader who can log big minutes at even strength and on the penalty kill, and won't do anything to hurt the team. He also has 62 Stanley Cup Playoff games to his credit, in addition to nearly 1,100 regular-season games; that kind of veteran leadership is irreplaceable with a young team like the Blue Jackets have.

Move him: Even with picking up a point in 12 straight games, the Blue Jackets couldn't claw their way into a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, and still have quite a hill to climb with not much time to do it. Aucoin is 39 years old, and likely not a part of the team's immediate or long-term future. He'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and rather than have him walk away or retire after the season, the Blue Jackets could look to move him to get a couple of draft picks to use as potential building blocks going forward.

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final