Blue Jackets players face uncertain times

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said he intends to change the makeup of his last-place team. He has until the Feb. 27 trade deadline to do so.

In the interim, Blue Jackets players will walk softly, waiting to see who stays and who goes. It is a white-knuckle road traveled by every pro athlete without a no-trade clause in his contract.

“It’s nerve-racking coming to the rink and not knowing what is going on,” forward R.J. Umberger said. “It’s a lot of extra tension.”

On a team with an NHL-worst 10-23-5 record, no one is off-limits. The players wear no blinders. To them, the possibility of a trade is a real and regular part of their daily lives.

“Teams that are at the top have certain areas of their game they can improve on, and they make moves, too,” defenseman Marc Methot said. “But when you look at a team in our position, sometimes the rosters are blown up. You’re aware.”

Methot said he and his teammates hope that management chooses another route. If there was no chemistry in the dressing room, Methot might think differently, but there are no players who should be purged for the sake of the team, he said.

“Some teams, you have a couple of cancers in the room, but I can honestly say we don’t have that,” Methot said.

The Blue Jackets opened the season with an eight-game losing streak, and the job security of coach Scott Arniel has been in question for the duration. Arniel repeatedly has said he tried to block out talk of a coaching change and focus on his job. He declined to comment on the difficulty of his players doing the same.

“You know what? You can write whatever you want,” Arniel said. “You can talk about whatever you want. I’m not worried about what’s going to happen, what might happen.

“I’m not going to comment on that. Ask the players and get their opinion. I’ve talked about it enough the first three months of the season. I’m not worried about what’s (hanging) above their heads. I’m worried about tomorrow’s practice. That’s all I care about.”

Forward Derick Brassard has been the subject of trade talks for much of the season. The 2006 first-round draft pick was once a regular healthy scratch but has settled into a spot on the fourth line. He hasn’t gotten too comfortable, however.

18 Responses to Blue Jackets players face uncertain times

  1. reinjosh says:

    The next two drafts have some huge superstar potential.

    You all know Yakupov and Grigorenko. Forsberg, Galchenyuk, Dumba all have low end superstar potential. 
    Next year has MacKinnon. Seth Monohan has huge size and is top ten in points in his second OHl season, and top 5 in goals scored. Shinkaruk was a PPG player in his first year and is now top ten in points in the WHL and 2nd in goals scored. Plus Seth Jones as the top defender (and also the son of a former NBAer) with some sick puck moving skills. 
    Oh and Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov, the youngest player to score a World Junior goal. Already 6 foot 2 at 16, he just put up 4 points in his first WJC playing with Finland (he's Finnish). He's a personal fav of mine. in his first SM-liiga year (the Finnish pro league), he has a respectable 12 points in 21 games (4th best on his team, and top 20 for under 24 prospects in the league). By comparison, Mikael Granlund put up 40 points in 43 games in his first season, but was a full year older at the time.  
    There could legitimately be upwards of 8 or 10 superstars coming out of the next two drafts. 
  2. mapleleafsfan says:

    I couldn't believe when they were talking about barkov.. He's 6'2 but also weighs like 215 or something. That's HUGE for his age. Puberty hit that kid with a ton of bricks.. He's basically phaneuf size at 16. Usually any kid at 16 over 6' is still really lean. Kid's gonna be a tank. 

  3. TheLeafNation91 says:

    I want him.

    Tyler Biggs better be Lucic 2.0.

    We'll see in a few years, but some players we drafted him over was Saad, Jenner, Puempel, etc.

  4. blaze says:

    That could also just as easily means he hit puberty young and has essentially plateaued his growth already. Something that could in fact overrate him as his game in the lower levels could be more of result of his physical dominance over boys which won't be as effective against men in the NHL.

  5. TheLeafNation91 says:

    Not necessarily. He's got the size and the obvious grit to his game, something that it takes players years to get in their game.

    Now, he can focus more on his offensive skill, as that continues to grow the sky can be the limit.

    It's like saying Tyler Biggs has fully developed as well, would you agree?

  6. TheLeafNation91 says:

    People wonder why I hate Canadian 'media' when it comes to hockey, its bull crap like this (the original by Francis) that is allowed to get posted. Absolutely ignorant writing and just once again the media trying to make thr Russians/whoever beats Canada as bad people.—Grow-up-Kuznetsov/164/41058

  7. blaze says:

    He very well could be. In which case his offesive game might never truly flourish at this level and he could be a career grinder/depth guy. Time will tell.

  8. reinjosh says:

    Well he's already playing with men at 16 so it's a not really an issue of him beating up players that are physically like kids. 

  9. reinjosh says:

    So apparently Bob Murray has sad both Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf are in play…interesting…

  10. leafmeister says:

    Burke better be in play. Getzlaf brings this team to elite status.

  11. 93killer93 says:

    Just because I'm greedy…

    Getzlaf, Ryan, Holland, Brookbank
    Grabovski, Kulemin, Lombardi, Frattin, Bozak, Gunnarsson, Franson, 1st(2012), 1st(2013), 2nd(2013)
  12. dumbassdoorman says:

    Grabs is UFA, so him in there matters not really; that trade needs to include either Kadri or Colborne for sure and possibly Schenn in place of another dman.

  13. albertateams says:

    Drop Grabovski, Gunnarsson and Lombardi and add two of Schenn, Kadri, or Colborne and it might get it done. Grabovski is UFA that I doubt Anahiem would want to through money at and even if they did they could wait until the offseason to sign him or someone like him. I doubt Anaheim would want to take on Lombardi's contract for another year given his history. 

  14. blaze says:

    Anything at all goes for Getzlaf. He will hit 90+ pts in his career again.

  15. blaze says:

    Ya didn't realize that. Sounds like a keeper.

  16. reinjosh says:

    The only reason he hasn't at this point, is because of injures after his first 90 points season. But yeah pretty much the same sentiment. 

    He mentioned wanting to not make a core player for prospects deal. Might make things interesting. I was sort of hoping he wouldn't come out and say it and Burke could work behind the scenes getting him.
    Or maybe that's the reason he came out and said it. Burke was working hard for Getzlaf, but Murray wants more and he knows announcing he's available will drive up the price. Probably a far out scenario but a guy cna dream right 😛
  17. reinjosh says:

    Meh, its one journalist for a news conglomeration people barely recognize as credible. Whatever. 

  18. MystifoLeafs says:

    I'm thinking its just Murray getting Burke to pony up what he wants in return. Burke is a smart man when it comes to trades. I have yet to see a trade I really regret. (Give me another five years and I will talk about the Kessel trade.) As for right now I trust Burke and if Getlaf is available you can bet Burke is listening.

Leave a Reply