Lots of gnashing of teeth, balling of fists, and stamping of feet about the Jackets’ moves at the trade deadline. Frankly, I don’t see it. Was it the best we could have hoped for in an ideal world? Of course not. Were the deals reasonable within the circumstances? I believe so.
I’m disappointed that the Jackets couldn’t acquire Brad Richards, as that would have finally filled that #1 center-sized hole for this season and several to come. But from the sounds of it, Tampa wanted a goaltender who could play in the NHL now, and the Jackets didn’t have that to offer. Giving up Pascal as he’s finally come into his own this season would be madness, and would Tampa have even wanted Norrena back in their system? It sounded like Howson was willing to part with some not insignificant pieces to get Richards, but just didn’t have what Tampa needed, and Dallas did. That’s how it goes.
As for Adam Foote, I was okay with the fact that Howson was trying to re-sign him, but I didn’t want to see overpayment for him. He’s already been overpaid the last few seasons thanks to the contract Doug signed him to, and he really hasn’t made the difference on the Jackets most of us hoped he would when he was signed. If it didn’t look like it was going to be possible to sign him without overpaying, Howson was better to trade him now for something rather than let him walk in the summer for nothing. The NTC limited trade options substantially, especially if Colorado was the only place Foote was willing to waive it to go. Given those circumstances, a first round pick and potential for a fourth rounder isn’t bad return at all. Yeah, it doesn’t help the team right this second, which people are whining about, but again, that’s how it goes. It’s also worth remembering that an extra first round pick gives the Jackets more trade bait in the off-season. So instead of being used to pick a player who won’t be in Columbus for several years, that pick could be turned into a player who will be here next season.
Fedorov…he was gone at the end of this season, no matter what. I didn’t see any possibility he would re-sign in Columbus, so as with Foote, better to get something now. A lot of people are worked up because they thought he should have brought better return than Ted Ruth, but I just doubt that. He’s clearly been on the decline the last couple of years, has been disinterested this season when he hasn’t been hurt, and is a rental. Occasionally a team will get desperate (like Atlanta last year) and overpay for a player like that, but a second rounder, which is what Ruth is, is probably the best Columbus could have gotten, realistically. And yeah, Ruth is a project, and he’s several years away if he makes it at all, but apparently the
hotheads talent experts who comment on Puck-Rakers already have assessed that he’ll never make the NHL at all. Sigh.
Apparently nothing could be gotten for some of the other UFAs on the roster — Vyborny, Peca, Hainsey, Tarnstrom.
Yeah, today’s deals do signal that management has given up on the playoffs for this season. But aren’t the same ones screaming about that now the ones who have been declaring over and over again after every loss that they’re giving up on this team? Or those who have said that the team needs to be blown up are now lamenting the loss of Foote and Fedorov? Half of them were mad last summer that Howson didn’t buy out their contracts. It must be the white death falling from the sky that’s made some people in Columbus lose all sense of perspective.
Howson’s had the better part of a year now to assess what Doug left behind, to see how they responded to a full year of Hitchcock’s coaching, and I’d say now is when he really starts remaking the team into what he wants. I think everybody wishes the team weren’t at the point of rebuilding in season eight, when they were never really “built” in the first place. But that’s how it is, and if it were different, Doug would still have his job today, instead of yapping on XM and Sportsnet…