There was a trade made on Friday. The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired defenseman Mikko Lehtonen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goaltender Veini Vehvilainen.
Things haven’t quite worked out as hoped for Lehtonen in Toronto and as Chris Johnston of Sportsnet writes, this will be a welcome opportunity for the player. Johnston also adds that Columbus was among the NHL teams that pursued Lehtonen when he was a free agent last year.
Lehtonen ultimately chose the Leafs and Aaron Portzline of The Athletic writes, “Belief then, w CBJ, was that deep blue line in Columbus was chief among the reasons Lehtonen didn’t pick them. Not quite the same situation in 2020-21.” The Blue Jackets are a team that has seen their share of struggles this season, made a number of big changes to their roster and Lehtonen should get far more playing time than he did in Toronto.
Lehtonen, 27, made his NHL debut this season, collecting three assists and three points in nine games with the Leafs. He will join the Blue Jacekts taxi squad once he obtains a work visa, travels to Columbus and clears 48-hour COVID quarantine per NHL protocols.
What’s Next For Blue Jackets?
When you consider the rumored trades that could be coming by April 12 deadline, it makes sense Columbus might add a defenseman, especially if David Savard and Michael Del Zotto — both UFAs — are among those who could be on the move.
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