Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Dark Blue Basket Case

Sergei Bobrovsky possibly still a Jacket
This is the mother of all trade deadlines for Blue Jackets fans.  We have two of our best players, Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky who will test the free agency waters come July 1.  They are major assets on our team as currently constructed, and it is not certain the organization will reap any benefit from the remainder of their contracts other than their play.

To me this is somewhat of a sign of the maturation of our franchise.  Seldom have the Jackets been so newsworthy. 

But none of that really helps this writer cope with the uncertainty.  The next few days until the Monday 3 PM trade deadline could well see a dramatic reshaping of our team.  Or not.  It's all over the board.

Not long ago, Aaron Portzline of the Athletic (subscription required) posted no less than 7 different scenarios on how these contract situations could play out with varying degree of probability between now and the deadline. (Get a subscription if you can afford it.  You won't regret it).  The sheer number of these is staggering, and for a team that would have to play the Tampa Bay Lightening if the season ended today, the magnitude of the potential impact is staggering as well.  This is all really high stakes stuff, and the Twitter feed will get crazy. 

All of which is contributing to me being a bit of a basket case waiting for the shoe to drop.  The good news is that the day after the deadline we get to turn around and play the Penguins, likely with a spot in the top 8 on the line.  But at least at that point we'll know what we have.

Ottawa has declared that Matt Duchene won't suit up for any more games in Ottawa.  He is going to be traded.  The Blue Jackets are rumored to be in on this deal, and if we want to compete for a cup this year, we might well need to add an asset like this.  With the news of Ryan Murray being out for awhile coming out today, it seems certain a defenseman needs to be added as well.

Also on the Athletic, Craig Custance wrote an article called 'Execs unplugged: Behind the Scenes on the Real NHL Trade Deadline'.  This is an excellent article, and Jarmo Kekalainen was one of the executives that Custance interviewed for the article.  My take away from this is that Jarmo is a process guy.  While he has not foreseen the exact scenario in front of him, large pieces of it have been obvious for awhile, or at least the possibility of those pieces.  So Jarmo has done his homework, and will trust that homework as he tries to put these deals together.  Right now, I feel pretty good that Jarmo is the guy to stand up for our organization.  We all get to dissect it with the beauty of hindsight.  Jarmo gets to do it real time.  At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see what was really there.

These are interesting times for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  There's also an old Turkish curse that goes "May you live in interesting times".  Hmmmm.  Well, good news is Jarmo is from Finland, so maybe it doesn't translate that way there.  Best of luck Jarmo.  Go get 'em!!