Columbus's draft pick up for grabs?
But the most relevant fact is this: Word around the NHL is the team’s fourth overall pick is available. Ownership, tired of hearing about the future, wants success – now. There is going to be a very good player – Connolly? Fowler ? Gudbranson? – available in that spot, and Columbus is going to try and leverage it into some immediate help.
Sometimes, that works. In 2002, Tampa Bay traded the fourth overall selection to Philadelphia for Ruslan Fedotenko . The Flyers took Joni Pitkanen . Like the Blue Jackets, Tampa missed the playoffs the season before they made this trade. In 2003, they won their first-ever playoff series. One year later, Fedotenko scored the Stanley Cup winner. However, the Lightning had guys named Lecavalier , St. Louis , Richards and Khabibulin on the roster.
Can Columbus match that? Well, there’s Rick Nash and whatever you get for that high pick. And, the job is going to be much harder without bounceback seasons from Mason, Derick Brassard and Rostislav Klesla , limited to 26 games because of injury. If you’re Guy Boucher, and you have options, the first choice probably isn’t going to be an owner lacking patience.
What if John P. McConnell doesn’t like next year’s results?
For all of the offensive talent in Tampa, serious upgrades are needed on the blue-line and in goal. A playoff charge certainly would be welcomed. But a miss isn’t necessarily the end of the world. In Columbus, it might be. Boucher couldn’t take the chance.