Columbus GM Scott Howson ‘moving forward’, deals Antoine Vermette to Phoenix

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Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson finally pulled off a trade in which he acquired a goaltender. No, it didn't have anything to do with Rick Nash leaving town.

With the NHL trade deadline approaching in five days, Columbus sent Antoine Vermette to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a 2012 second round pick, a 2013 fifth rounder and goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

Via Aaron Portzline at Puckrakers, Howson talked about looking to the future:

"This is moving forward," Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said. "We have to move forward. It wasn't working this season as we expected. We're going to move forward and this is part of the process of reshaping the team."

Howson also mentioned how the move will allow the Blue Jackets some flexibility, and when you think of the fact that Nash, Jeff Carter and Samuel Pahlsson could also be out the door by Monday at 3 p.m. ET., Columbus could be sitting with a ton of cap space to spend come July 1.

The 29-year old Vermette is signed for the next three seasons with a $3.75 million cap hit. He now has the third-longest contract on the Coyotes right after Keith Yandle and Martin Hanzel. Phoenix sits seventh in the Western Conference and have reeled off eight wins in their last 10 games. While their future in the city is still up in the air, this move by GM Don Maloney (with the permission of the NHL to take on more salary) strengthens them down the middle and should help their 30th-ranked power play going forward.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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