The Columbus Blue Jackets really made an effort his offseason to boost their firepower, both up front and on the blue line. Star center Jeff Carter was acquired in trade from the Philadelphia Flyers, while high-scoring defenseman James Wisniewski was brought in as a free agent. Vaclav Prospal was acquired to help offset the loss of Kristian Huselius to injury.
The results of all this offseason movement have been mixed. While Prospal leads the team in scoring, Carter has been slowed by injury and Wisniewski by a suspension. Even when in the lineup, the latter two have struggled; Wisniewski's minus-15 entering action on Saturday was the worst number on the team, while Jeff Carter recorded just nine points in his first 17 games with the Blue Jackets. Even Prospal has cooled after a sensational start.
Having as much, or arguably even a greater impact than the two marquee names that Columbus added in the offseason is an unheralded sophomore defender the team picked up in trade early in the year. With the Blue Jackets and St. Louis Blues both struggling, the teams opted to swap a pair of underachieving offensive defensemen. The Blue Jackets shipped off Kris Russell, a 24-year-old who had already appeared in nearly 300 games in Columbus, and in return acquired little-used sophomore Nikita Nikitin from the Blues.
It's been a trade that so far seems to have worked well for both teams.