I'm not talking about the Mike Commodore trade request. That apparently happened last week (though we only found out about it today). Plus, that's a player-initiated move.
No, what I'm talking about is the waiving of Kyle Wilson as part of his demotion to Springfield, this after being told by team management that he was going to stick around for the season. This one's on the team - on Scott Howson and presumably Scott Arniel. As such, it's much more significant to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Wilson, a center who cracked the CBJ lineup after bailing out on the Washington Capitals' system once he realized that his ceiling with that organization was the Hershey Bears, started the season as a center and then started getting bounced around on the wings. He made it as high as the top line for a game (or at least part of a game) but spent nearly all of his time on the fourth line or in the press box. With 26 Blue Jacket games under his belt, he has 4 goals, 7 assists and a plus-minus of +1. Not terrific, but not terrible for a fourth-liner.
Where Wilson shined, however, was on the shootout. Unlike so many of his teammates, you see, Wilson actually scored:
So now he's gone, and CBJ fandom gets to bite its nails a little more intensely every time our favorite team gets into a shootout.
Even more interesting, however, is that no one is getting called up to replace Wilson - even though Ethan Moreau hurt his ribs last night in Phoenix. This suggests one of three things that immediately come to mind:
- There's a trade a-brewin'. If that's the case, then the open roster slot means that the CBJ now have the ability to net add a player to the roster. This could be accomplished by sending a draft pick to the other team for a player, by sending one player and getting two in return, etc. Scott Howson made a supposed season-saving personnel move last season around Christmas time - the Jason Chimera for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina trade - so this appears to be a time where one could reasonably expect Howson to make a similar move.
- The team has no idea who to bring up from Springfield. Nikita Filatov appears to have done nothing to warrant his call-up from the Falcons. Howson and Co. are also loathe to bring up youngsters like Matt Calvert and Tomas Kubalik (rightfully so!). Is there another Falcons player - Dane Byers or Mike Blunden, perhaps - who could take a shot up here?
- The team is on a post-holiday diet (read: The dreaded "salary budget".). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Nationwide Arena has had more than a few empty seats, and that inability to sell tickets goes straight to the bottom line. If John P. McConnell says, "Enough," then moves like this will happen and the team will play with a stripped-back roster. I can't think that it would have a horrible effect on the team; right now, the team is playing with three roster players in the press box. Thus, not replacing Wilson means that Mike Commodore only will have one other partner with whom to play cards on a given night.
I don't have any inside knowledge and can't do more than speculate that any of these situations could be the case. Surely, there are other possibilities. At the same time, it sure seems like something's happening with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Guess time will tell...