Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cautious Observers at the Trade Deadline

It's that time of the year, the NHL Trade Deadline is upon the NHL world.  Where Hockeyy Insiderrs every where speculate deals to be made, deals that are rumors, and things that deal with No Movement Clauses.  The trade deadline ended badly for us Blue Jackets fans last year.  Carter was gone, Howson outted Nash, and Ken Hitchcock was writing his acceptance speech for the Jack Adams.  Skies were gloomy, dogs were sad, and a lockout loomed.  Then there was May 29th, 2012.

You don't remember May 29th, 2012?  I do.  It was the day "John Davidson Watch" started in Columbus when he met with team officials that day.  My, that seems like a lifetime ago.  Since then, Columbus Blue Jacket fans have had a long time to get to know the kind of hockey executive John Davidson is: a patient and deliberately calculating President of Hockey Operations.  Davidson took his time in getting the GM he wanted.  He gave Todd Richards time to get his constrictive defensive system in place.  He's given several interviews in print, radio, and TV where he's stated over and over again, this season will be used to evaluate the team from top to bottom.  By the very nature of his repeated comments in this manner, and his very passive first year in Saint Louis, I don't see the CBJ doing much at the trade deadline.

He has a vision, and it isn't frantic action at the deadline..

Now, if someone offers you a stud for David Savard or a second rounder for Adrian Aucoin, DUH, you make the trade.  But by virtue of this shortened season and the methodical evaluation of the team that Davidson has said will exist, I see John Davidson standing strong at the trade deadline like my father at a Magnolia Home Theatre liquidation sale.

But much like my father, I see John Davidson taking his time to get exactly what he wants.  There may not be a Kuro Plasma on the wall just yet, or a pair of Marten Coltrane Supreme's framing the TV right now, but with a little development, patience, and keen negotiating tactics, it won't be long before we see them.  There isn't much on this team right now that would go quickly in a seller's market, save a few energy guys that the Canadiens, Blackhawks, or Hurricanes might like.  And if the CBJ are going to be buyers at the deadline, it means that Jarmo and JD have already figured out what this team needs and where it needs to go.  I'm pretty sure John Davidson didn't commit to a 9 week turnaround of the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Not everything moves as fast as a government-managed bankruptcy of General Motors.
To me, it would seem silly that in a "condensed for time" season that JD and Company have figured out how to fix the CBJ's woes in just 35-ish games in 8 weeks time and are ready to buy at the deadline.  Everything we know about JD says he's a patient man who like to build lego sets "Brick-by-Brick."  I don't see a CBJ fire sale at the deadline, unless it means unloading Dorsett, Anisimov, JMFJ, Bobrovsky, and Prospal.  Those are the only players of real value to other teams, and let's face it, the only real value to a majority of the casual fans.  And if those trades did happen, JD would have to take out a full page paper in the local paper explaining why. But sarcasm aside, it will take JD longer than 8 weeks to diagnose a LONG TERM solution for the Blue Jackets.  Besides that, realignment changes things for the Blue Jackets more than people think. 

And if I were JD, I would take Jules' advice and "Be cool Honey Bunny."  I would sit pat and watch all the fools around me scramble for scraps in the hopes of a playoff run this shortened season.  JD has three first rounders in this year's draft.  His team has several UFAs and RFAs coming up at the end of this season should he need roster space.  Other than a prospect-for-prospect swap, or perhaps Brassard getting shipped somewhere, I don't see a whole lot of movement by JD and Jarmo at the deadline.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe he's gotten Umberger, Tyutin, and Wisnewski to all waive their No Trade Clauses, with them giving up on the easy money to be made in Columbus, and will be shipped off in the next couple of days.  Highly unlikely.  Which is why, despite my entry into a CBJ trade pool, I think the CBJ will be cautious observers at the trade deadline.

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