The Columbus Blue Jackets: Daring or Stupid

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired top center Matt Duchene, Top 6 forward Ryan Dzingel and depth pickups Keith Kinkaid, Adam McQuaid at the trade deadline.

Instead of shipping off, soon-to-be-not-Blue-Jackets, Artemi Panarin, and Sergei Bobrovsky, it left me with one snarky question/statement. “What if the Blue Jackets made all these moves, AND MISSED THE PLAYOFFS!” Well, that joke may actually come true.

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The ‘Jackets lost their 8th straight game to division rivals Pittsburgh Penguins tonight while also getting shutout 3-0. This loss got me thinking about whether or not this team was daring to make all these moves to go “All in”, or were they just stupid.

What They Gave Up

The Daring: The Blue Jackets gave up 7 draft picks, including 2 1st-rounders, plus 3 prospects and Anthony Duclair to grab 2 impact players and 2 depth pieces to prepare for a long playoff run.

  • The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs 4 times in their 17-year history.
  • They have never been to the 2nd round.
  • They have never been buyers at the Trade Deadline.

In saying all of these things this is what makes the Blue Jackets have the opportunity and the pieces to make one of the longest playoff runs in their history. They just have to get in. Right now the Blue Jackets sit 2 points out of a playoff spot, you clean up the sloppy play and get a little healthy on the backend you get into the playoffs, where anybody has a chance. (2012 LA Kings – 8th spot Stanley Cup Champs, 2017 Nashville Predators 2nd Wildcard Stanley Cup Finalist)

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The Stupid: The Blue Jackets gave up 7 draft picks, including 2 1st-rounders, plus 3 prospects and Anthony Duclair to grab 4 players who are set to go to free agency this summer.

  • The Blue Jackets traded for all these pieces while still being out of the playoff race at the time.
  • The impending departure of Panarin and struggling play of starting goaltender Bobrovsky makes giving up all those futures instead of acquiring them all the riskier.
  • Record since the trade deadline line: 2-3-0

That record is very misleading. In a negative way. Those two wins came in extra innings with a 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers (out of the playoffs) and a 2-1 Shootout win over the New Jersey Devils (One of the worst teams in the NHL). They have also been outscored 21 to 9. They sit with the 4th worst powerplay (15.3 %) and are heading into the toughest part of their schedule.

So far the scoring upgrades they grabbed have not worked out. Duchene in 8 games has 1 goal and 3 points and Dzingel 2 assists in 6 games. Meanwhile, their depth pieces haven’t worked either. McQuaid is a -5 has been a healthy scratch the last couple games and Kinkaid hasn’t made the lineup yet.

Right now it’s looking like the Blue Jackets made a colossal mistake not only mortgaging their future for players who have no obligation to want to resign there, but also not moving two players who are not going to sign there for pieces to build for their future.

I want to give props to ‘Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen for going all in but it just seems he did it a year too late.


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Author: Nikos Michals