COLUMBUS, Ohio – Though it started slowly, trade deadline day in Columbus went from 0-to-60 in a matter of seconds.
Seeking a boost to their offense in the midst of a playoff push, the Blue Jackets made the biggest trade of the day in acquiring three-time 40-goal scorer Marian Gaborik from the New York Rangers about 15 minutes prior to the 3 p.m. ET deadline.
Gaborik, one of the NHL’s elite snipers, joins the Blue Jackets at a crucial time for the club and injects a dynamic force into their forward group. At 31, he’s a three-time NHL All-Star.
He has scored 91 career power play goals, 62 game-winning goals and seven shorthanded tallies with 14 hat tricks during his 12 NHL seasons. Columbus sent Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round pick to the Rangers as part of the trade, and the Blue Jackets also acquired Blake Partlett and Steven Delisle in the deal.
“Throughout this process our focus was to add a player who could provide a boost to our offense, improve our goal scoring and power play and we identified Marian Gaborik as the player we wanted,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He has been an elite goal scorer in this league for many years and we are very excited to have him.”
The Blue Jackets are flying to pick up Gaborik this evening and Kekalainen said he expects him in the lineup tomorrow when the club plays a huge game against the Nashville Predators in the Music City.
In 35 games with the Rangers in 2012-13, he has tallied 9-10-19 and eight penalty minutes and ranks seventh in the NHL with four game-winning goals. To finalize the trade – which Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said came together in the final hour before the deadline – Gaborik had to waive his no-trade clause.
A conversation with John Davidson was all Gaborik needed.
“This is a new challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” Gaborik told TSN via phone shortly after the deal was completed. “I heard rumors here and there, but I didn’t try to focus on it and I can’t control what teams do.
“I had some time to think about it, and I talked to some guys that played (in Columbus) and John Davidson, and I decided this young team is going in the right direction. When somebody wants you and somebody tries to trade for you, it’s good that somebody actually wants you on the team.”
Gaborik said he spoke with former Blue Jackets as well players currently on the team, including former Ranger Vinny Prospal, before making his decision and though this is the first time he’s been traded, those talks made the move more comfortable.
“It seems like they’re going to have a good team down the road, and I’m looking forward to it,” Gaborik said. “They have three first-round picks next summer and they added some guys…they’re in the playoff hunt and like I said, it’s a good challenge and something new for me.”