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Blue Jackets trade Bjorkstrand to Kraken for pair of 2023 draft picks

Oliver Bjorkstrand became a salary cap casualty after the Blue Jackets signed Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo, Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded right winger Oliver Bjorkstrand to the Seattle Kraken in exchange for two draft picks next year.

Columbus will receive Seattle's third and fourth-round draft picks in the 2023 NHL draft, according to General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarma Kekalainen.

Bjorkstrand has scored 111 goals and 123 assists with the Blue Jackets since being drafted by the club in the third round of the 2013 draft. He ranks seventh on the franchise's all-time list in goals.

The Denmark native has led the club in goals in each of the last three seasons, becoming just the second player to do so in franchise history.

The decision to move the 27-year-old forward comes just hours after the club signed forward Patrik Laine to a four-year extension worth more than $34 million and a week after signing star forward Johnny Gaudreau from the Calgary Flames.

Bjorkstrand became a salary cap casualty after the Blue Jackets signed Gaudreau and Laine.

"It was a difficult decision to trade Oliver, who has given so much to our organization over the past seven years," said Kekalainen. "However, a move like this needed to be made in order for us to be salary cap compliant after the Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine signings. We are thankful for Oliver's many contributions to our club, on and off the ice, and wish he and his wife, Jill, all the best in Seattle."

Bjorkstrand will reunite with former Blue Jackets center Alex Wennberg in Seattle. The two played in Columbus together for five years.

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