Jordan Leopold to Minnesota: A Trade with Heart


Amid the buying and selling, the fire sales, and the calculated moves to bolster playoff rosters that usually precede the NHL trade deadline, this year a little bit of warmth seeped into what otherwise is typically the frigid business side of the sport. Late in the day, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they had traded veteran D-man Jordan Leopold to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Justin Falk and a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft. The move would have likely gone largely unnoticed, except that there was a little more to the story behind this deal.

Leopold, acquired from the St. Louis Blues last November in the midst of a blue line crisis precipitated by an injury to Fedor Tyutin, among others, is a Minnesota native whose family stayed put when he came to Columbus. A true professional, Jordan has done everything asked of him during his stint with the Jackets – including moving to forward for a couple of games – so, according to Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen, when the team became aware of his desire to return home to his family the gears began to turn.

As if that wasn’t enough, a letter written by Leopold’s 11-year-old daughter Jordyn to the Minnesota Wild began making the rounds of the Twitterverse.

“Please, please, please ask the Jackets if you guys can get him,” she pleads. How can you not smile, and sympathize, at that?

Leopold “has been a great pro since joining our hockey club in November and this was an opportunity for us to acquire a good, young defenseman in Justin Falk and another pick in this year’s draft, while giving Jordan the opportunity to re-join his family in the Twin Cities,” said Kekalainen when announcing the trade.

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As for Justin Falk, who will be making his Blue Jackets debut on Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals, he’s a big-bodied defense-oriented blue liner who has tallied 15 blocked shots and 6 hits in 13 games with the Wild this season. A fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft, Falk’s offensive production leaves much to be desired (1 goal in 142 career games) but, being a spot player, he still has the potential to improve.

More importantly, the real winner here is Jordan Leopold and his family.

Next: Grading David Clarkson's First Weekend as a Columbus Blue Jacket