Columbus acquires Damon Severson through sign-and-trade

Damon Severson in action in a Devils home game in the 2022-23 NHL season.
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The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to add to their defense core. Earlier today, they executed a sign-and-trade with the New Jersey Devils to acquire defenseman Damon Severson. Heading back the Devils’ way is Columbus’ 2023 3rd-round pick, which lands at 80th overall.

The contract Severson signed carries an average annual value of $6.25 million dollars and runs for eight years, lasting until the end of the 2030-31 season. Severson will be 36 at the end of this contract.

What does Damon Severson bring?

Damon Severson is a reliable two-way defenseman, with a heavier emphasis on his offensive production than defensive prowess. The offensive presence Severson brings is something the Blue Jackets are in dire need of. The last time a right-handed defenseman on the Blue Jackets had a 30-point season was 2013-14 when James Wisniewski tied a career-high 51 points.

Just looking at the base statistics and analytics, Severson appears to be a great get for the Columbus Blue Jackets. The contract he got is the same that Calgary’s MacKenzie Weegar got a year ago after he was traded there from Florida. The key difference is how those two were deployed. While Severson played second-pair minutes throughout the season, Weegar played on the top pair the final two years he was in Sunrise.

Another common formality between Severson and Weegar is their propensity to commit critical mistakes. While Weegar’s big mistake was not a turnover but an untimely misread. Damon Severson’s claim to fame– or infamy– is this play, a microcosm of the Devils from 2018 to 2021, but those days seem to be behind them.

Is this sign-and-trade worth it for Columbus?

This kind of deal hinges on Columbus becoming a consistent force in the Eastern Conference in four years. Severson will be 32 at the halfway point of his new contract. Immediately, this will help Columbus, but they will have a little bit of a log jam on the right side of their blue line. Severson, Adam Boqvist, Andrew Peeke, and Erik Gudbranson are all current members of that right side and top prospect David Jiricek will make his debut very soon. Perhaps the Blue Jackets buy out Gudbranson this year or next, or maybe trade one of Peeke or Boqvist.

Does this benefit the Devils?

The Devils are losing a quality player who spent nearly a decade donning the red and white (and occasional green). In return, they get just one third-round pick. With that context alone, it sounds like the Devils flopped in this trade, but they were able to get a mid-round pick for a player they were going to lose for nothing.

This also clears up the right side for another top prospect in Simon Nemec, who will likely see sheltered minutes behind Dougie Hamilton and John Marino. The Devils cleared up a log jam on the right side of their own and are making way for the future. In short, the Devils are trading away a very good player to make way for someone who could be an elite player.

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