TRADE: The #SeaKraken have acquired Oliver Bjorkstrand from Columbus in exchange for a 2023 third round pick (via Calgary) and a 2023 fourth round pick (via Winnipeg).— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) July 22, 2022
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There are so many things to love about this trade, right off the bat. First, they didn’t even give up any of their own picks — those were picks they acquired in trading away the last quarter-season’s worth of Mason Appleton and Calle Järnkrok. Seattle managed to hang onto all three of their 2023 second round picks through this deal.
Second, there’s the fact that Oliver Bjorkstrand has that dawg in him. This dude can flat-out play.
He has increased his point total each of the past three seasons, culminating in a career-best 28 goals and 29 assists in 2021-22. And at 27 years old, we probably haven’t even seen his best season yet.
Bjorkstrand is signed for four more seasons at $5.4 million AAV. The Blue Jackets tied their own hands when they signed free agent Johnny Gaudreau last week, leaving them $6 million over the salary cap. Kraken general manager did a phenomenal job weaponizing his available cap room here, getting a legitimate top-6 forward at a steep discount from a desperate team.
Seattle suddenly has an abundance of skaters who could be in the mix for a top-six role this year: Bjorkstrand, Jordan Eberle, André Burakovsky, Jaden Schwartz, and Jared McCann could be fighting for the top four winger spots while Matty Beniers and Shane Wright (hopefully) take control of the first and second line center positions.
Welcome to Seattle, Oliver!