These eight men currently comprise the Columbus Blue Jackets' defense. They were a combined minus-59 last season. Chances are even a moderately engaged National Hockey League fan has never used at least a third of their names in conversation.
So yes, an upgrade is urgently needed if the Blue Jackets are to challenge in the Western Conference.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported on Friday morning that the target may be Kevin Bieksa(notes), of the 40-point offensive upside, the multiple lacerations and the frequent crucifixion by Canucks fans. Portzline reports that the bait for Bieksa could be one of the Jackets' top young prospects:
He would know Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel from training camps in Vancouver and the odd injury rehab in Manitoba, the Canucks top minor league affiliate. But Bieksa's name has surfaced many times in Columbus the last several seasons.
No deal is imminent, and it remains to be seen what the Blue Jackets would send toward Vancouver to swing the deal. But left winger Nikita Filatov(notes) is a definite possibility, sources told The Dispatch.
Our buddy Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period magazine tweeted that Filatov was in play as well.
We're fans of Filatov here on Puck Daddy, mostly because he actually answered a question about resembling Amanda Bynes (see end of interview). The 20-year-old former No. 6 overall pick has potential, and we were eager to see what it looked like with Ken Hitchcock's thumb removed from it.
That said, you have to give to get, and Bieska's an upgrade over what's on the blue line now. Which, as any Canucks fan will tell you, speaks volumes about the Columbus defense.