The Columbus Blue Jackets just concluded the most successful run in team history. As the organization and fans said goodbye to many familiar faces who helped push the Blue Jackets to four Stanley Cup Playoff appearances the team has embarked on a fresh start. A start that began with a very good 2021 NHL Draft and has fans excited about the future. Yet the revamping will last at least two years and a lot can happen.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen built a nice hockey team and one that tasted some playoff success. As good as those Blue Jackets teams were there was something missing. The defense was good, the goalies and wingers as well. But the team lacked top talent at center.
Enter Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger both centers, both taken by the Blue Jackets with the first two of the teams three first round draft picks. Johnson and Sillinger give the Blue Jackets some very good talent at a position that needs it most.
Kekalainen is revamping the Blue Jackets from the back out. His blue line (defense) looks as good as it ever has only younger. Players like Patrik Laine are young and talented.
As with any revamping it comes with huge question marks. For instance Can the organization repeat another strong draft next year? It absolutely must if the revamping is not to suffer a setback.
Defensemen Zach Werenski received a massive contract last week. Will there be any more such contracts handed out like to say Laine? That remains to be seen.
As much success that Kekalainen helped the Blue Jackets achieve, a revamping comes with stress. The long time GM needs to be shrewd and fearless. So far so good. Yet if there are any miss steps it would be disastrous to the timeline of getting back into contending for playoff spots.
This could be a case of the Columbus Blue Jackets allowing Jarmo Kekalainen to prove he can put a winner on the ice if not………………….