NHLTR Mock Trade: Minnesota Wild Joel Eriksson-Ek to the Columbus Blue Jackets

Welcome to NHLTR mock trade series where we will showcase a potential 2023 offseason trade. From minor moves to major transactions, everything will be covered as we try to predict how the chips may fall this summer across the NHL.

For our next mock trade, we look at the Columbus Blue Jackets and what they're thinking with the third-overall selection. While adding a player like Leo Carlsson could be the move, and likely is, if the pick is in play, the Blue Jackets will be in the market for a center who can step into their lineup and produce in between Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau. Insert, the Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota Wild trade Joel Eriksson-Ek and the 21st overall pick at the 2023 draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the 3rd overall selection

Wild Perspective: Wild GM Bill Guerin is going to have to consider moving some money around because the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter cost the team $14.7 million the next two seasons. While Eriksson-Ek has a great contract at $5.25 million through the 2028-29 season, he holds a tremendous amount of trade value (61 points in 78 games) and would fetch a can't miss blue chip prospect in the draft. With Sam Steel, Ryan Hartman and Frederik Gaudreau, and then adding a player at #3, the Wild would be in good hands and be saving well over $4 million per season.

Blue Jackets Perspective: Columbus lands themselves a #1 center and someone who steps in and fills a massive void immediately. JEE has gotten better every season he's played and has 80-90 point potential. His contract alone is a huge asset and while there's always a huge risk moving a high first-round pick, when you can land a proven talent who is going to help your hockey club immediately, it's hard to pass up.

photo credit:  Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports