Traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets Adam Boqvist, is a nice addition

Last week when the Columbus Blue Jackets traded Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks, the organization got a very nice haul. First round draft picks, a second round draft pick and the Blue Jackets also received the Blackhawks top rated prospect, defensemen Adam Boqvist. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen remade his defensive unit during the NHL Draft weekend and the unit is as strong as it has ever been. So what does Adam Boqvist bring to the Blue Jackets? A lot, let’s examine.

The Chicago Blackhawks who are in the midst of their own rebuild were not really in position to just give away top prospects. Yet, the Blackhawks felt that Seth Jones would help to speed up their current rebuild. Adam Boqvist was not just a throw in, in the trade. Boqvist is simply too good to be a toss in.

SUNRISE, FL – MARCH 15: Adam Boqvist #27 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates during a break in action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 15, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Adam Boqvist is a right-shot defensemen, he is an exceptional play maker. Boqvist, possesses a big and accurate shot and is able to find space in between opponents to get the puck to the net. Boqvist plays very well in traffic.

In the defensive end of the ice, Boqvist has cleaned up his game and is an above average defender coupled with mobility, puck skills, and offensive attack that makes him extremely valuable. Adam Boqvist projects as a 1st pairing defenseman.

So in essence the Blue Jackets traded a 1st pairing defensemen for a 1st pairing defensemen and also received draft picks. Boqvist is 6 years younger than Seth Jones.

CHICAGO, IL – MARCH 08: Adam Boqvist #27 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Sammy Blais #9 of the St. Louis Blues battle for the puck in the second period at the United Center on March 8, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is easy to see a future Columbus Blue Jackets top-defensive pairing of Zach Werenski and Adam Boqvist. Both are solid defenders and both can find the back of the net in the offensive end.

With the moves made during the draft weekend, Jarmo Kekalainen has sped up the Blue Jackets rebuild. He did so by solidifying (rightfully so) the blue line. Kekalainen has always said he prefers to build from the back (goalie and defense) out. Which is the correct way to build a hockey team.

There will be only one, but these two players who make the most sense to be captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets

After trading away long time captain Nick Foligno, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for a new voice to fill the void left. Fresh off of contract extensions both Boone Jenner (longest tenured Blue Jacket) who has the respect of the front office, coach’s and teammates makes sense to wear the captain’s “C.” So does defensive standout Zach Werenski who was captain of the Michigan Wolverines hockey team and also has the respect from all involved.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 6: Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena on April 6, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

In my opinion, Jenner and Werenski are two players who are worthy of being the Columbus Blue Jackets next captain. They possess an over-the-top work ethic and command the attention and respect of the entire Blue Jackets organization because of the way they go about their work.

Whichever one does not wear the captain’s “C,” is nearly a slam dunk to wear an “A” (Alternate captain.) There is no secret recipe to picking a captain. Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen said they will know when they have the right person and in all likely hood they have already identified that person.

Fans want to know right now who if anyone will be the next Blue Jackets captain. Kekalainen said the team can wait until training camp right up to the start of the season. There is a chance the team may not name a captain for the 2021-22 NHL season but that seems remote given the choices the organization has.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 10: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 10, 2020 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Both Jenner and Werenski would make excellent captain’s. Yet, knowing the two players it is safe to say whichever or whoever is named captain they will root for and continue to respect each other and both will continue to lead by example and speak up and out as needed.

Both Jenner, (Who has been a Blue Jackets alternate captain) and Werenski qualify for the void left by Foligno. In my opinion the two players are going to head into camp as the two top targets for the captain’s “C.”

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets sign Zach Werenski to a massive deal and perhaps begin to change the narrative

The perception around the NHL has been the Columbus Blue Jackets are unable to keep star players. There has been truth to that. Until last night when the Blue Jackets announced they have signed defensive standout Zach Werenski to a 6 year $57.5 million dollar contract extension. Just like that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has silenced the chatter.

COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 22: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets gains control of the puck in the third period as Jesper Fast #71 of the Carolina Hurricanes gives chase at Nationwide Arena on March 22, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Carolina shut out Columbus 3-0. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Not long ago, I wrote that the Columbus Blue Jackets should offer defensive standout Zach Werenski the deal they were rumored to be offering then Blue Jackets defensive standout Seth Jones. Thursday night out of the blue that is exactly what the franchise did.

There are no two ways about it, this is a major win for Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets. To not only draft a player, develop him into an All-Star caliber and a  player who is gifted in the offensive end and has really taken big steps  defensively and lock him up in his prime is huge.

Zach Werenski who since being in the NHL is tied for third in goals (65) for a defensemen and ranks 19th in points (139) for a defensemen. For Werenski who is one of the NHL’s best defensive players his pay raise will now reflect both market value for a player of his stature and his value to the Blue Jackets organization.

This is exactly what the Columbus Blue Jackets have needed to do. To hand out a massive contract to a player approaching the prime of their career and end players leaving for seemingly greener pastures elsewhere is excellent news.

COLUMBUS, OH – MAY 2: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Boston Bruins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 2, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

This shows players around the league and the Blue Jackets fan base that enough is enough. The organization is now ready to lock up players which is more inviting to free agents and to the current roster members.

This seems to be a new era of Blue Jackets hockey one with a focus on keeping talent.

Columbus Blue Jackets Patrik Laine agrees to qualifying offer

The Columbus Blue Jackets have been a scrappy bunch. An every player chips in and win games together kind of team. Great! But not since the days of Rick Nash have the Blue Jackets had an impact player like Patrik Laine. In Laine, the Blue Jackets have a single player who can take over games even if it did not show during last seasons poor performance. Laine, agreed to a qualifying offer and will make $7.5 million next season. What happens next appears to be up to him.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 7: Patrick Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets controls the puck during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Nationwide Arena on February 7, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. Carolina defeated Columbus 6-5. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

When the curtain closes on the 2021-22 NHL season Patrik Laine will once again be a RFA (restricted free agent.) That simply means the Columbus Blue Jackets hold his rights.

Laine struggled like just about all of the Blue Jacket players this past season. Yet, if there is anyone poised for a comeback it is the gifted Finnish scorer. Laine knows it and so does the Blue Jackets front office. This is where it gets interesting.

The fact that both player and franchise are on the same page is huge. Both agree Laine can and will be better. Both sides are willing to negotiate a long term deal. Laine has said and continues to say he wants to be in Columbus and chipped in “I already got traded.”

This is my opinion on the situation. The Blue Jackets and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen hold the cards. If Laine rebounds as many NHL and hockey experts believe he will the Blue Jackets could trade him for more assets as the team is in rebuild mode.

COLUMBUS, OH – FEBRUARY 20: Patrik Laine #29 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Nashville Predators on February 20, 2021 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The smarter choice for Columbus, again in my opinion would be to sign Laine to a long-term deal and build around him. With the NHL’s best draft last weekend the Blue Jackets now have prospects who can feed the puck to Laine and allow him to do what he does best, score goals.

A one year qualifying offer is basically a “prove it” deal. There is little doubt Patrik Laine will prove it.

Why General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen is right to rebuild the Columbus Blue Jackets

A new era of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey is coming. That is the good news. The bad news it is not going to happen overnight. Blue Jackets General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen who just oversaw a very good draft by the organization has given the franchise a jump start on this new era. So why was this the right thing to do? Let’s dive in.

COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 15: Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts after scoring the game-winning overtime goal against the St. Louis Blues on November 15, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

After a four year playoff stretch that saw the Columbus Blue Jackets lead by then head coach John Tortorella, sweep the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019, the Blue Jackets began the decent that made the timing for a new era both needed and warranted.

As cornerstone players to the four years of playoff hockey have been traded off for a couple players and more importantly draft assets (picks,)  Kekalainen all but ripped the band aid off and tore the foundation of his team down to the studs.

The moves that sent ripples across Columbus as fans wondered what in the world was going on is absolutely justifiable. I say that because making the hard moves shows the Kekalainen  was not going to stand pat and allow his team to sink so low with nothing in the minor leagues which would have been a nightmare. As a rebuild would have taken much longer.

Take the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals respectfully. Both teams have enjoyed prolonged success and have won Stanley Cup’s. Winning comes at a cost. It always does. The Penguins and Capitals now have aging rosters full of bloated nearly untradeable contracts.

As both the Penguins and Capitals window for winning is closing both franchises are set to endure long and painful rebuilds. One that it seems Jarmo Kekalainen wanted to avoid.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 02: : 2021 NHL Draft Lottery positions are seen on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

While new era’s take time to take hold, the 2021 NHL Draft proved a launching pad for the Columbus Blue Jackets who were widely viewed as the draft weekend winners.

The players selected will be part of the next wave of playoff hockey in Columbus. Which thanks to shrewd moves by Kekalainen has been sped up.

Leaving a job after a year, because a new door has been opened

  1. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1
MUNICH, GERMANY – MAY 12: The monumental main cross, symbolizing the Christian faith, is illuminated during dusk of day 1 of the 2nd Ecumenical Church Day (2. Oekumenischer Kirchentag) at the Theresienwiese on May 12, 2010 in Munich, Germany. Thousands will travel to the southern German city to take part in the Church Day events been held from May 12 to May 16, 2010. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

That was a quick year. One that saw God open a door during a pandemic to a new job. I had worked at my pervious job 20 years and was good at it. But injuries are no friend to someone doing heavy lifting. So I walked through the open door God gave. However, after just one year things have soured a bit as new proposals have been made. Those proposals do not jive with my God time, family, or life.

Upon hearing the changes that are coming, I offered a prayer. Not just any prayer. I thanked and praised God for the season (months, years, decades) of heavy hard work he allowed me the strength to endure. I then did something I have never done. I asked God to close the season of heavy work. I also told God that at a new job would allow my wife and I to find a small group to attend, to tend to family things, as well as be more out and about in the community. HE DID IT!

I am blessed with a fantastic wife who sent me a link to a job. Not only that but I was blessed at the job I held for 20 years with a ton of experience that with God’s leadership lead to me landing the job.

The job is it at Ohio State. For someone from Michigan and a fan of all things Michigan this was some sort of twisted joke from God. I have learned he has a a great sense of humor. Only one of us is laughing. Actually there are more, my family has joined in the laughing.

Ohio State aside, wherever the Lord leads, it is my job to walk through the open door. Without question. The hiring process at Ohio State is usually a long one. My hiring process was incredibly short. That is when you know it is from God.

I am grateful for the job I held for just one year. I am even more grateful I serve a God who hears, has mercy and opens and closes doors and seasons. Even if He gets a big laugh out of it.

The Columbus Blue Jackets trade Cam Atkinson as a new future awaits

In roughly 100 days the Columbus Blue Jackets under the guidance of general manager Jarmo Kekalainen have traded Nick Foligno, David Savard, Seth Jones and today another long time Blue Jacket joined the list, Cam Atkinson. With that a successful era of Blue Jackets hockey has closed. Yet, Kekalainen and the team he runs were the big winners of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Jarmo Kekalainen said the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and that has not happened. Kekalainen went on to say it is hard to say goodbye to players that made up the core of the Blue Jackets 4 year playoff run. But sometimes hard decisions need to and must be made.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 16: Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 16, 2020 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It is never fun to see players that have helped a team and have done great things in community get traded away. But professional sports is a business. The trading of four cornerstone players was absolutely not personal. It was business driven.

Nick Foligo and David Savard were traded at the deadline for first round draft picks. Seth Jones was traded for Adam Boqvist, a 2022 first round draft pick and other picks. Cam Atkinson was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers for former Blue Jacket, Jakub Voracek.

Many Blue Jackets fans were angry that Atkinson was moved as he beloved and a fan favorite. A deeper look at the trade shows why Kekalainen was right to bring Vorcek back.

Cam Atkinson is a good player and gifted goal scorer. Atkinson lacks assists which is one reason Vorcek was brought in. Vorcek is an assist machine. That is good news for Patrik Laine who needs the puck passed to him so he can do what he does best, fill the net.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 27: Jakub Vorcek #93 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates the puck against the Arizona Coyotes on January 27, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Columbus Blue Jackets power play has been mostly powerless the past few seasons. During the past eight season Vorcek has 142 power play assists. So Columbus is getting a player who can help generate more offensive opportunities that Atkinson was able to.

While shake-up is never fun there are times it needs to be done. In my opinion Jarmo Kekalainen was correct in trading players and reshape the future of the Blue Jackets. So far so good.

 

 

Three first round draft pick two big trades has the Columbus Blue Jackets a better organization

Retool, rebuild, reshaping, those words have been used a lot recently in describing the immediate future of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Whichever “re” you prefer the Columbus Blue Jackets have sped up the process with a huge night at the 2021 NHL Draft. Blue jackets General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen was aggressive with trades and his draft picks. The Blue Jackets are trending in the right direction.

COLUMBUS, OH – MARCH 18: An general exterior view of the Nationwide Arena, site of the first round games of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 18, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Before the draft even started the Columbus Blue Jackets traded defensive standout Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blue Jackets got the massive return they were looking for.

For Jones, the Blue Jackets received defenseman  Adam Boqvist, the Blackhawks first round draft pick at #12, a 2021 second round draft pick, and the Blackhawks 2022 first round draft pick. The trade felt like a big reach for Chicago as Jones numbers have been in decline the past couple seasons. The Blue Jackets won this trade in a big way.

Next the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the second round draft pick the received for Jones to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Jake Bean. Bean who was a rookie this past season for the Hurricanes is a solid player and one who will gain more ice time in Columbus. Another big win for Kekalainen and company.

Now the first round draft pick, three in all. This is where the Blue Jackets stole the show and won day one of the draft. In desperate need of a front line center, Kekalainen drafted two and walked away with outstanding talent.

First at #5 overall the Columbus Blue Jackets selected from the University of Michigan, center Kent Johnson. Johnson who had an absolutely tremendous, highlight generating freshman season at Michigan. Johnson is a playmaker. This is the kind of center the Blue Jackets have needed. Viewed as the best center in the draft the Blue Jackets were quick and just in selecting Johnson.

Next with the #12 (from Chicago) the Blue Jackets drafted Cole Sillinger, center. Sillinger who’s dad played for the Blue Jackets was a solid pick. Sillinger  has a terrific shot and plays a very aggressive brand of offensive hockey, this past season the young center tallied 46 points in 31 games.

With two draft picks the Blue Jackets took two centers. Clearly the focus was squarely on offense. Thus seemingly closing the door on the John Tortorella defense first era of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey.

With the teams last first round draft pick the team selected a defensive player. Corson Ceulemans, for a defensive player to fall all the way to #25 is unprecedented. The Blue Jackets and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen were right to pounce on Ceulemans.

Corson Ceulemans, is strong in the defensive end and a very a strong skater and does not shy away from for shooting the puck. He will head to the University of Wisconsin for development. The Blue Jackets were very fortunate to be able to draft Ceulemans.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JULY 23: With the 12th pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets select Cole Sillinger during the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

After day one of the NHL Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets had perhaps the best day in the franchises history.

Having not developed into the potential the Detroit Red Wings once saw in him, Dennis Cholowski has been exposed in the NHL expansion draft

The newest NHL team, the Seattle Kraken will be selecting the franchise’s inaugural roster the Wednesday. There are some big named players the Kraken could draft as well as players that simply for one reason or another did not pan out for the organizations that drafted them. Like Detroit Red Wings defensemen Dennis Cholowski whom Detroit has made available for the expansion draft.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 06: Dennis Cholowski #21 of the Detroit Red Wings controls the puck against the Dallas Stars during an NHL, home opening night game at Little Caesars Arena on October 6, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Dallas 4-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings former first round draft pick Dennis Cholowski was selected in 2016 by former Red Wings GM, Ken Holland. Holland and the then Red Wings scouting department really liked Cholowski’s mobility and offensive ability. Yet, oddly enough it has been his deficiencies defensively that have held the 23 year old from grabbing a roster spot full-time.

Dennis Cholowski’s Detroit Red Wings career has been earmarked by inconsistencies defending. He has been brought up to Detroit and sent down to the minor leagues multiple times. At times Cholowski has looked like he was on the verge of a breakthrough only to fall back on old habits, leading to a yo-yo career that has landed him on the unprotected list for the Seattle Kraken to select from.

It would seem that Red Wings General Manager, Steve Yzerman is all but done with Cholowski. On past send downs Yzerman has said that he had given Cholowski a list of things he wanted to focus on while being sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Seattle Kraken #2 overall draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

Reports would say that Cholowski had cleaned up areas of his game only to be recalled by the Red Wings and fall back into unproductive ways. It is safe to say that Yzerman grew tired of the lack of development and has chosen to move on.

That means if the Kraken do not draft Dennis Cholowski it is very possible Yzerman could choose to place him on waivers for another team to claim. Detroit could also package Cholowski in a trade.

No matter what happens, it is very possible Dennis Cholowski is no longer part of the Detroit Red Wings organization moving forward.

 

 

Why I believe Detroit Tigers draft pick Ty Madden may have been the steal of the 2021 MLB Draft

At the University of Texas, Ty Madden was the best pitcher on the Longhorns staff. During his college playing days Madden would take a fastball that sat between 90-92 MPH which was a bit underwhelming and transform it into a pitch that now touches 99 MPH routinely. Widely considers one of the top 5 pitching prospects and MLBPipelines #9 ranked overall prospect, Madden fell into the Detroit Tigers lap at pick #32.

DETROIT – JULY 11: A Tiger statue is seen outside of the Comerica Park entrance before the start of the 2005 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby at Comerica Park on July 11, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Last year Ohio State catcher Dillion Dingler who was thought to be first round talent fell to the Detroit Tigers in the second round. This year, was even better. Ty Madden who is nearly MLB ready was an absolute gift to the Tigers.

Ty Madden is a four pitch pitcher. Fastball, Slider, Curve and Changeup. His fastball and slider both grade out at 60. While his curveball  grades a 55 with his changeup coming in at 45. Madden uses his fastball to set up what has become a wicked slider to get outs.

The slider is a Detroit Tigers specialty. It is no exaggeration when I say that every pitcher on the Tigers pitching staff and organization wide throws a slider. Which is good when it is thrown correctly it can be a nasty pitch.

Ty Madden could have easily been the Tigers pick at #3, the team opted for high school pitcher Jackson Jobe. It is not often that a pitcher with the talent and stuff of Madden falls so far. But the Detroit Tigers got a steal.

The Detroit Tigers were the only team to walk away from the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft with two prospects ranked in the top 10. This will do nothing but speed up an already lengthy rebuild. The two draft picks look to set the Tigers future starting rotation.

BALTIMORE, MD – MAY 11: A detailed view of a Big League Chew bubble gum bucket in the dugout prior to the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 11, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers had the second best draft this year as ranked by MLBPipeline. It is not well wishing to think that Ty Madden will be in Detroit perhaps as early as 2023 and cemented in the Tigers starting rotation.