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Breaking Down The Blue Jackets/Rangers Trade

from Stu Hackel of the Red Light,

Well, the immediate evaluation on the deal overwhelmingly criticized Howson for not getting more in return, a chorus that included my friend and SI.com colleague Adrian Dater and, strangely, the man whose own failures as the first Blue Jackets GM played a large role in their perpetual futility, Doug MacLean (via Twitter), who is now a hockey analyst in Canada.

Of course it may turn out in a few years that the chorus was right and Howson’s deal of Nash, large minor league defenseman Steve Delisle and a conditional third-round selection for Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first-round selection in 2013 turns out poorly for Columbus. But we can’t know that yet.  And many of the instant analysts have overlooked some other things when assessing this deal.

First, rather than looking at what Howson didn’t get, let’s look at what he did: If Dubinksy and Anisimov play up to their potentials, this trade would provide the Blue Jackets with added size and depth up front, especially at center, where they were pretty thin after they traded Jeff Carter last winter (and the whole Carter situation was a bad miscalculation by Howson). These are good players, second line talents on a deep Rangers team and have a shot to play larger roles in Columbus. If Erixon pans out as the top four defenseman he’s projected to be, it adds to a pretty strong blueline corps that Howson is trying to assemble. If the first round pick next June snares a solid prospect, that’s a plus too.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Curley's avatar

Stu- A very well-written and perceptive piece.  No All-Stars on a team can up the compete level on a young team.  No more gliding into the zone waiting for Rick to do something.  The D is much improved and the forward group is deeper faster and much more responsible than last year.  Now about the biggest problem CBJ has every year…..Goaltending.  Bob, Bob are you there?

Posted by Curley on 07/24/12 at 08:23 PM ET

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Yeah, and replacing that leadership, goal total and marketing are no problem as well…

Gotta hand it to the Rangers.  The second rape of a trade in three years after the Gomez deal.  Now if only they could trade Wade Redden for Dustin Brown…

Posted by Bob from Washington, DC on 07/24/12 at 09:40 PM ET

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No one has played yet.  i will reserve judgment until January.  If there is a season.

Posted by 13 user names on 07/24/12 at 09:55 PM ET

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By trading Rick Nash for two blue-collar guys that can chip in offensively, Howson has changed the team’s culture.  If Bobrovsky plays well they can be a good team for a few years…

Posted by bsalamon on 07/24/12 at 11:33 PM ET

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The biggest problem with the trade is that it is contingent on a lot of IFs to pan out. IF Dubinsky returns to form, IF Anisimov can become a second line player that plays to his size, IF Erixon becomes a top 4 defender and IF Howson or his replacement can draft an NHL caliber player late in the first round.

When dealing a known commodity like Nash, you look for more than promises. Nash was the face of the Jackets, although I’m sure that has changed since his trade request.  The Rangers were in serious need of a scoring winger with Gaborik out and they still didn’t have to give up a top prospect.  I consider Erixon fifth among their defenseman and was had only a year ago for a pair of second round picks.  The key seems to be Erixon and Columbus’ strength already seems to be on defense.

This move gives them one more player of forward depth, they added two, but they lost their top wing.  The key will be how Foligno fares with Johansen in the near future on the top line and whether they will be able to develop their defense. The team culture could have been changed by retaining Hitchcok and cleaning out management sooner.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/25/12 at 11:08 AM ET

Curley's avatar

@hockey1919: Good analysis.  One more forward to get first line consideration is Cam Atkinson who had a lot of #1 line minutes with Team USA this spring. While I have little respect for management, Hitch had lost the room according to all reports.  His layoff (according to him) was the best thing for him. He changed his approach to young players and the rest is Jack Adams history. That ship had sailed in CBus unfortunately.

Posted by Curley on 07/25/12 at 11:38 AM ET

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Hitch had lost the room according to all reports

Easy to lose a room when your GM is picking the likes of Filatov. The GM should be getting the right guys and draft picks are guys you can interview and see what they are made of before drafting them.

I think Sather insisted Dubinsky in the mix because of his contract and Howson blinked when the said Anisimov instead of Kreider or Stepan. Giving back a third rounder is also a head scratcher. You just swapped about one round in the draft between the Rangers 1 and Blue Jackets 3rd.  If I’m Howson, I insist on a second in 2014 (not getting two 2013 picks, too deep a draft), since the re-building team should come out with more picks if you’re not budging on the top prospects.

All said and done, not a huge fail, but a lot of build-up over just a decent return if Erixon turns into a top 4.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/25/12 at 04:03 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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