Hat trick would help Jackets’ recovery

When it comes to their offseason plans, the Blue Jackets prefer reshape to rebuild. In this case, they’re not splitting hairs.

Rather than dismantle the roster and start on a three- or four-year rebuilding plan, indications are that the Blue Jackets will make moves this summer with the hope of being competitive — dare we mention the Stanley Cup playoffs? — next season.

To that end, they have three bullets to fire in the next few months — three significant commodities that could be used to help buttress a deadwood roster full of bloated salaries.

“It’s the biggest summer since I’ve been here,” general manager Scott Howson said. “I see us being competitive next season, for sure. We have to be more competitive.

“There are a lot of moving parts. It depends on where they fall, in terms of the impact we can make on the franchise.”

First, the Blue Jackets are almost certain to trade captain Rick Nash, who asked for a trade in January but was still with the team after the trade deadline in February because Howson didn’t find a deal to his liking. The sides have remained amicable, but this could get awkward, if not ugly, if Nash remains with the club.

Second, the Blue Jackets have the No. 2 pick in the draft in June, as well as the Los Angeles Kings’ first-round pick (currently No. 17) — unless the Jackets opt to take the Kings’ first-round pick in 2013 instead.

The Blue Jackets would be delighted if winger Nail Yakupov slid past Edmonton with the No. 1 pick, but if he doesn’t, they’ll have their choice of defenseman Ryan Murray or forwards Mikhail Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk or Filip Forsberg.

It is more likely that the Blue Jackets will use the Kings’ pick, their third bullet, as part of a trade. Under the terms of the trade — the same deal that brought defenseman Jack Johnson to Columbus for center Jeff Carter — the Jackets don’t need to indicate whether they plan to use the pick or defer it to next year until two picks before the Kings are on the clock.