The non-hockey market of Columbus, Ohio will have to continue waiting for a contender. No biggie, right? It has only been 12 years.
I doubt that very many people really care, but the Columbus Blue Jackets are once again left to rebuild. An expansion franchise that has never really found its way in the National Hockey League, the Blue Jackets will likely be clawing its way up from the bottom of the barrel for another couple of years at least.
Unfortunately, this rebuild happened a year too late.
The trade for Jeff Carter in the off-season, predictably did not have the desired results for GM Scott Howson. They gave up a 1st and 3rd round pick along with Jakub Voracek for a guy who ended up playing 39 unmotivated games. I have cottage cheese in my fridge that has lasted longer than that. Luckily for the Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi threw Scott Howson a bone. Howson got a 1st round pick back as well as underachieving defenseman Jack Johnson.
Nevertheless, Scott Howson messed up worse than Vince Young on the wonderlic test.
He wasted a year for the Blue Jackets that they can never get back. A year that he could have spent in full rebuild mode. Instead, Howson has had to scramble before the trade deadline to get something of value for his expendable pieces.
He traded Jakub Voracek, Samuel Pahlsson and, of course, Jeff Carter for a bunch of drafts picks. A 1st (2013 conditional), 2nd (2012), 4th (2012), 4th (2012), and a 5th (2013 conditional) to be exact.
The silver lining to this less than perfect scenario is that the Blue Jackets sit dead last in the NHL by a gigantic margin despite their best attempts to contend for a Stanley Cup this year. As sad as that is in itself, the fact that they are guaranteed a top 3 pick in the 2012 draft can be of some comfort to Scott Howson on those very lonely nights.
However, with that being said, the Blue Jackets have yet to trade their most coveted piece in all-star winger Rick Nash. His $7.8 million cap hit through the 2014-15 season, no-movement clause and all. According to Howson today, Rick Nash approached the team about a possible trade but nothing got done. Rick Nash is still stuck in the purgatory that is Columbus for the time being.
Rick Nash will be dealt eventually, probably around the time of 2012 draft. It will mark the end of a very miserable era in Columbus.
After Nash is gone, the best thing Scott Howson can do for his franchise is be patient. He thought last offseason, like the kid who spoils his appetite with the cookie before dinner, that being patient wouldn’t be worth it. He knew that getting Jeff Carter back then sounded good and didn’t think it would affect his whole team negatively. Like the kid eating his cookie before dinner, Scott Howson upset the natural order of things. He had his dessert before dinner was ready. When it is dinnertime, Howson is the one at the table who won’t be able to enjoy it.
They say that patience is a virtue. Not enough General Manger’s have it apparently.
The last week has shown that Scott Howson is willing to change his tune but for how long? Those Brian Burke, Jay Feester get Stanley Cup quick schemes simply don’t work like they’re supposed to. The Leafs and Flames sit at 10th and 11th in their respective conferences. Scott Howson is just going to have to suck it up for the long haul this time. It’s the only way.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have already put themselves behind the 8-ball. They can’t afford to waste anymore years.
Chris is a writer on Comedic Prose, and he also is the editor of Painting the Black.
You can follow Chris on twitter @paintstheblack or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org