Report: Rangers interested in Cam Atkinson trade

Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen joined Prime Time Sports to talk about trading Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones, a defenceman he thinks could pair up with Ryan Murray to create a premier defensive tandem.

Could the Columbus Blue Jackets trade another top-six forward?

According to a report from Columbus beat reporter Aaron Portzline, the New York Rangers have been calling to inquire about right wing Cam Atkinson, who leaped to third in Blue Jackets scoring when centre Ryan Johansen was dealt for Seth Jones this week.

Since Columbus coach John Tortorella is a fan of Atkinson’s, moving him to New York doesn’t appear likely.

“The style of play we want to play, I think, fits him perfectly,” Tortorella told BlueJackets.com on Nov. 30.

“He gets to pucks – he can get to pucks quicker than some other guys because he’s so quick. He’s not only fast but he’s quick. He’s ‘around it.' ”

Consider the right wings below top-liner Atkinson on the Jackets' depth chart. David Clarkson, Rene Bourque and Jared Boll have three goals combined this season.

Atkinson, 26, avoids penalties and boasts relatively strong possession numbers to go along with his 12 goals and 13 assists this season.

The Riverside, CT, native has exceeded expectations since being a sixth-round pick by Columbus in 2008. His current contract, which carries a $3.5-million cap hit, does not expire until summer 2018.

Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton has yet to make a significant deal since assuming the post on July 1.

Despite rolling out the NHL's fourth-best offence, Gorton has also been rumoured to have inquired about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin.