You’ve heard it at least once in your life, timing is everything. It is hard not to look at the Columbus Blue Jackets and the organization’s offseason and think this is a bit more than coincidence. For years the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have had a stranglehold on the Metropolitan (Metro) Division. With both Pittsburgh and Washington’s Stanley Cup window all but closed, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made their move.
Looking back at the 2019 Blue Jackets season, that year saw the team trade for some high profile players in hopes of making some noise in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When the team was knocked out of the playoffs the players walked as free agents. Looking back that may have been intentional.
For years Columbus Blue Jackets fan base have heard both team President, John Davidson and General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen say that Columbus is wonderful and they could attract free agents. Yet, that did not happen. Until this offseason.
With the Penguins and Capitals in decline, Kekalainen made his move. signing coveted free agent Johnny Gaudreau and his teammate and friend in Calgary Erik Gudbranson. Stunning the hockey world, yet Kekalainen said that the signing should put any false notion to rest. Free agents will come to Columbus.
So hear me out for a moment. If the Columbus Blue Jackets front office, gave the city and fans a peek at what could be in 2019, yet felt that it was not the right time to go all in they had a plan in place the whole time.
What if Jarmo Kekalainen allowed the division’s “top dogs” to do what they had been doing? With aging rosters and up against the salary cap not to mention both the Penguins and Capitals minor leagues in shambles due to winning, the Blue Jackets front office was willing to wait it out. Until now.
I do believe Kekalainen, I think that both Johnny Gaudreau who said he wants to be a Blue Jacket and Patrik Laine (who the team signed to a 4-year extension yesterday) has expressed his love for Columbus, shows that players will come.
This has been a franchise changing offseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets who suddenly look like one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.