Yesterday I wrote about teams deluding themselves into being buyers because they’re so close to a playoff spot, and probably paying too-high prices for too-bad players, and sure enough, not a minute before I opened the window to write this post, Darren Dreger tweeted maybe the dumbest thing I’ve read in two weeks:
“CBJ will be a buyer. Columbus would be willing to part with 1 of their 3 first rnd draft picks for a scoring forward.”
A lot of questions come to mind in reading this. Like, “What?” and “Huh?” and “Why would they do that?” and “Seriously?” and “This is an April Fool’s joke, right?” and “No seriously Dreger, is it?” and “What do you mean it’s not?” and “Can you believe how stupid the Blue Jackets are?” and “Wait Scott Howson isn’t their GM any more?”
Tough to answer any of those questions, except maybe the last one. This seems an incredibly foolish tack to take, but on some level it’s an understandable one. This is a new management group, with John Davidson having been brought in over the summer and Jarmo Kekalainen just a few months into the job, and maybe they want to make a bit of splash by acquiring whatever will pass for a “big name” at this deadline — 682-year-old Jaromir Jagr? — and show fans they’re serious about competing for the playoffs. Columbus is already holding onto eighth in the West, but is just a point up on St. Louis, and the Blues have three games in hand.
Therefore, going out and getting someone certainly bolsters their chances for making the postseason, but here’s another question you should feel free to ask JD or Jarmo if you happen to bump into them: “To what end?” The Blue Jackets are third-to-last in goals scored league-wide, which is why they want forward help, but any team gripping as tightly as they are to that spot with their minus-10 goal differential isn’t going to find anyone anywhere worth enough to make them competitive. Remember that Chicago’s goal differential is currently plus-52 better than theirs, and then tell me why this willingness to deal is even remotely existent.
There’s a middle ground between trading a first-round pick for a rental, and selling. That’s standing pat, which most teams would probably be wise to do over the next two days or so. The focus for Columbus should be trying to get the best return possible for their efforts to sell off their good players (Rick Nash, Jeff Cater, etc.) by getting as many high first-round picks as they can, and while the Rangers are doing their best to accommodate those needs by being tied with the Islanders, Los Angeles and the Blue Jackets themselves are doing Kekalainen no favors. Trading one of those — you’d think it’d be the Kings’, but then you also don’t know just how intent they are on securing said scoring forward — seems remarkably ill-advised.
Yeah, the Blue Jackets have made the playoffs once since they existed, and they got swept out of the first round. So here’s one last question: “Don’t you think that a team with 37 points in 36 games probably suffers a similar fate against Chicago, even with this new and exciting forward?” The answer is yes.
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