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Blue Jackets will be patient prior to deadline

President John Davidson won't force trade with 2017 Expansion Draft looming @NHLdotcom

The Columbus Blue Jackets will remain patient prior to the NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET, March 1) with the 2017 Expansion Draft looming this summer.

"We all dream. We all want. And then we settle into reality," president John Davidson told Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch on Sunday. "What's more complicated this year, [Aaron], is the expansion draft. We're all dealing with this. So when you make deals, you have to look at who now is going to be exposed, who's not, and are we going to pick a different format for protection ... everything pulls into it. We'd like to do things, for sure. But not at the expense for two months as a rental. Not at the expense of pushing one more guy out there, exposed, this summer."

The NHL will welcome its 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights, next season. The expansion draft is June 21. Each team can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters and one goalie. Vegas will select a player from each team.

"With the prices being asked, it doesn't make sense," Davidson said. "We had a lot of town halls and discussions in St. Louis about trading a [first-round pick] for somebody who might get us in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], and to the chagrin of many people, I wouldn't do it. Call me stubborn, call me whatever you want. If you build it properly you can have a run. Through all this rollercoaster stuff we've been through in Columbus, I don't think we've jeopardized the future with something that's a short-term fix."

The Blue Jackets (38-16-5) are in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the New York Rangers and holds the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference entering their game Sunday against the Rangers (5 p.m. ET; NHLN, MSG, FS-O, NHL.TV).

"We're getting better as a club," Davidson said. "We have growing pains ahead of us. If we can add this or add that, or get something of significance if the price is right and doesn't affect the expansion draft too much ...we have to look at it. Sometimes players are available that don't come around too often, so it's beneficial to make the move. You have to weigh everything. [General manager Jarmo Kekalainen] is really good with a patience level. He knows we're looking down the road a little bit. We're not going to jeopardize the long-term for the short-term. That makes no sense right now."

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