Many experts expect the Columbus Blue Jackets to blow up their roster and start overall. After all, this team sits in dead last in the NHL with a high payroll.
What’s to like about this team?
But general manager Scott Howson is keeping the rest of the league guessing. His decision to extend Vinny Prospal’s contract caused considerable head scratching, since only four players older than Prospal have contracts beyond this season.
As an unnamed scout recently told the Columbus Dispatch: “So, you’ve got the 30th-place team in the league extending the contract of a 37-year-old player, giving him a no-trade clause, and at the same time scratching a 19-year-old rookie (Ryan Johansen) who was just at the All-Star Game.”
Yep, that’s right.
Given that peculiar move, nobody can really guess what will happen to center Jeff Carter. This obvious trade candidate carries a decade-long cap hit of $5.27 million per year.
Not surprisingly, Howson has generated little interest for Carter among his peers. Carter has a little Jimmy Carson in him – and that’s not a good thing.
Perhaps Calgary would be desperate enough to make a play for Carson, er, Carter, but it’s hard to imagine heavy bidding on a shooter carrying that sort of contract baggage.
Dealing power forward Rick Nash would be a huge mistake for the Blue Jackets, since Nash is giving no indications that he wants out. He is just hitting his athletic prime. Jumbo-sized goal scorers are nearly impossible to find.
The Ottawa Sun suggested a Rangers offer of Brandon Dubinsky, prospect Chris Kreider and a first-round pick for Nash might work, but why would Columbus believe that is a good deal?
New York’s No. 1 pick won’t be a prime selection. Dubinsky gets lots of good press because he plays for the Rangers, but he has six goals in 49 games this season. Last season’s 24 goals and 54 points represent career highs.
On a good team Dubinsky is a candidate for third-line duty. So how would he make Columbus better?