Kekalainen expects to have pick No. 38
PHILADELPHIA -- One final piece of the Marian Gaborik trade remains to be settled, and the Anaheim Ducks have about three hours to make a decision.
The Los Angeles Kings traded a conditional second-round pick to the Blue Jackets as part of that trade deadline deal, but the pick in question has been well-traveled. It's been property of Toronto, Anaheim, Los Angeles and now Columbus, and dating back to the Leafs' acquisition of Peter Holland from the Ducks.
Anaheim traded the pick to Los Angeles but retained the option to defer, so the Ducks must let the Blue Jackets know by the start of tonight's first round (7 p.m., NBCSN) whether they are keeping the No. 38 pick in tomorrow's second round or if Columbus gets it.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen can only prepare as though his team will have that pick, and if they do, that will be eight selection for Columbus in the seven rounds. They begin the first round with the 16th overall pick, and per Kekalainen's policy, they plan to select the best player available on the board.
Kekalainen said that, as of Friday afternoon, he expects to receive the 38th pick but has not heard definitively from Ducks GM Bob Murray.
"I'm sort of counting on that being there...but that's an assumption on my part," Kekalainen said. "Right now, we have seven (picks) and I'm hoping that we have eight. If I had to guess, I'd say we have eight but that's obviously up to Anaheim and we'll know before the draft. We'll see. Or, we might be able to move back and get multiple picks, you never know."
Perhaps prolonging the Ducks' decision is their recently-completed trade for Canucks center Ryan Kesler. Anaheim yielded its first-round pick in 2014 (24th overall) in the deal, so it's possible they opt to keep their additional second-round pick this year and give the Blue Jackets a 2015 second-rounder.
No matter which way it plays out, Kekalainen said the Blue Jackets will be open to all options on the draft floor. They could move up - though he admitted it's costly - or they could move back if there's a belief that a player they like might be available a few spots lower in the order.
"That's something we'll at least be looking at," Kekalainen said. "We could (move back from) 38, 47 or maybe even 16 if we don't like what we're seeing the first 15."