by PuckStopsHere on 10/26/11 at 02:43 PM ET
Even after defeating the Detroit Red Wings last night for their first victory of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets remain in last place in the NHL. They have three points recorded in their nine games played. That nine game total is the second most any team has played so far this season (Pittsburgh has 11 games played). Not only does Columbus have a poor record, they also have burned more games than most teams to get it.
Columbus also has a payroll that is greater than the salary cap - due to players on the long term injury reserve. They have the second highest spending so far this season behind only the first place Washington Capitals. This high spending with a lack of results is the reason that GM Scott Howson should be replaced.
The Blue Jackets never planned to have as many injuries as they currently have. Right now eight players are listed on their injury list. These players include Kristian Huselius and Jeff Carter, who have significant contracts.
The problem with the Columbus Blue Jackets is that they are not getting enough bang from their bucks. Their depth players who are paid $3 - $5 million a year are not producing. These players could be replaced by much cheaper players who would produce equally well. Players like RJ Umberger and Antoine Vermette have each produced 3 points for $3.75 million each. Umberger actually gets a raise next year. This is a place where a player like Fedor Tyutin signed a contract extension that gives him $4.5 million salary cap hit until 2018. What has Tyutin ever done to be worth that money?
Columbus appears to be a team that is trying to buy success without producing a core of young talented players by the draft. They cannot convince the top free agents to come to Columbus so they open up the vaults and overpay anyone who is willing to come. Columbus winds up signing second rate players like James Wisniewski longterm and has nobody better to play on their defence. There is no way to win with that strategy. It is a way to spend significant amounts of the owner’s money without anything to show for it.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in last place with the second most money paid on payroll so far this year. That is not a good place for GM Scott Howson to be. He should be fired for being in charge of this team. He took over a team in bad shape after years of mismanagement by Doug MacLean and has continued with his own brand of mismanagement. While it is not a given that Columbus will finish in last place and it is likely that their payroll will drop when players return from injury, the Blue Jackets will have a poor year at too high a financial cost. They are currently the worst run team in the NHL.
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