It started before the puck dropped on the Columbus Blue Jackets 2020-21 season. Pierre-Luc Dubois publicly asked for a trade. He then proceeded to go out and give half hearted efforts until he was eventually dealt for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. From there the drama piled up and did not relent. In order for the team to regain it’s focus, they must rid themselves of any and all distractions.
Max Domi’s healthy scratch, Mikko Koivu retires, Nick Foligno and David Savard get traded, John Tortorella decides not to return as coach and now rumors of former team President, John Davidson returning to Columbus. That is just a small sample of the drama that engulfed the Blue Jackets both during and after the season ended.
Patrik Laine, who is a scoring machine said he liked playing in Columbus, but his body language and on ice energy suggested different. Laine scored goals in his first three games as a Blue Jacket and then was benched in just his fourth game.
Now it seems as though the Blue Jackets are sifting through which goalie they will keep and which will be traded. Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins, both have shown they can hold down the top spot between the pipes. Both want to be the starter.
The team needs to begin to look for a new head coach after John Tortorella and the team parted ways after the season. It all adds up and creates undue stress on players who should be focused on games and not internal struggles.
Oh another bit of drama, the Columbus Blue Jackets need a top six center. They currently do not have one on the roster. If general manager Jarmo Kekalainen elects to sign Patrik Laine to an extension and not trade him, then finding a center that can match his play is critical, regardless the team still needs a center.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Kekalainen have a lot of work to do this offseason starting with getting rid of drama.