COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In trade discussions with the Winnipeg Jets that were finalized today, the Blue Jackets saw an opportunity to give two young players a new look and fresh surroundings to help jump-start their careers.
Spencer Machacek (pronounced MUH-HAW-CHECK), 24, comes to the Blue Jackets organization in exchage for Tomas Kubalik as part of today's trade that hopefully benefits both sides, assistant GM Chris MacFarland told BlueJackets.com this afternoon.
Machacek was a third-round draft pick (67th overall) of the Winnipeg franchise when they were known as the Atlanta Thrashers, and came highly-regarded for his work ethic and "sandpaper" style of game. He's been a strong performer at the American Hockey League level, accumulating 93-132-225 in 341 career AHL games, including 11-14-25 in 57 appearances with the St. John’s IceCaps this season.
The Blue Jackets hope Machacek fits right in and helps the Springfield Falcons in moving along at their torrid pace. Springfield holds a record of 36-16-7 through 57 games, tops in the Northeast Division and just four point back of Syracuse for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I'm sure Brad (Larsen) will have a feeling for where he can fit in," MacFarland said. "We played St. John's four times this year, and our guys know Spencer as a player and probably have an idea where he fits. There's no doubt he's a top six, top seven guy who has played on the power play in the AHL and he's an up-and-down, gritty and grinding type of player who can score.
"We told him that we expect him to go down there, work hard and push for the right to be recalled to the NHL. That's his end goal, and we think he will be a quality player at that level."
Kubalik, 22, was a fifth-round pick by the Blue Jackets in 2008 and made 12 appearances at the NHL level. A big, strong kid at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Kubalik had 14 goals in 54 games for the Falcons this season but had yet to earn a recall to Columbus.
Both players are slated to become restricted free agents (RFA) after the season.
"They're both good AHL players," MacFarland said. "What we like about Machacek is that he's very competitive and has shown that he can score at the AHL level and been a top-six guy down there. When he had a sustained stint with the Jets, he did pretty well and our pro scouts think this could be a trade that benefits both teams and players."