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.

With the Stanley Cup Champion crowned, the Columbus Blue Jackets offseason officially begins

First a congratulations go out to the Tampa Bay Lightning for winning back-to back Stanley Cups. With that, the Columbus Blue Jackets offseason now begins with some questions and some clues as to how President of Hockey Operations John Davidson and General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen will navigate in the coming days, weeks and months.

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 12: Columbus Blue Jackets Defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) passes the puck during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 12, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

One nice thing that the Columbus Blue Jackets have done is fill out newly named head coach Brad Larsen’s coaching staff. Sylvain Lefebvre and Pascal Vincent have been named assistants. Filling out the staff allowed for more time to plot for the 2021 NHL Draft including who they will protect and expose in the expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken to choose from.

As for Davidson and Kekalainen, they must and most likely are doing their part in going over trade packages for defensive standout Seth Jones who informed the team that he would like to test the free agent market which is absolutely his right. The Blue Jackets can receive a big haul for Jones but it must be a haul that fills a need. Either another top defensive player or a top line center should be the targets.

One very good thing the Columbus Blue Jackets have going for them is salary cap space. No matter retool or rebuild the Blue Jackets can speed it up with three first round draft picks and cap space. In what is only a guess on my end, this is what the Blue Jackets will do. Sign players, trade players to reshape the roster.

COLUMBUS, OH – APRIL 27: The cannon fires before the start of a NHL game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena on April 27, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

If the Blue Jackets use all three first round draft picks that to me spells rebuild. If they trade one or two of the picks that to me spells retool. Not much separates a retool from a rebuild other than in a retool a team is adding players to an already existing roster. A rebuild is a sell off on most of the current roster and starting basically from scratch which takes a bit longer.

It is an exciting time to be a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be a very interesting offseason.

Reload or Rebuild, the Columbus Blue Jackets have big decisions looming

After the trade deadline came and went two prominent members of the Columbus Blue Jackets were traded away leading many to believe the team was on the cusp of a full-blown rebuild. Nick Foligno, Blue Jackets long time captain and long time defensemen David Savard were traded to Toronto and Tampa Bay for first round draft picks. Yet, Blue Jackets General Manger, Jarmo Kekalainen insists the organization is going to reload.

BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 24: President of hockey operations John Davidson of the Columbus Blue Jackets attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the return of Columbus Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations, John Davidson yesterday and the verbiage he used during his press conference it sounded more like a rebuild is on the horizon.

The 2020-21 NHL season was a disappointment for the Blue Jackets who saw the teams streak of four playoff runs end. Now are armed with 3 first round draft picks. One of those picks could be in the top 5 .

For the Blue Jackets to avoid a rebuild a few things will need to be addressed. The team needs a top line center. They also need to find out if defensemen Andrew Peeke is the long-term solution to replace David Savard.

Seth Jones needs a new contract and has told the team he is taking some time before deciding if he wants to commit to the Blue Jackets. Having John Davidson back in the fold could help sway Jones to stay, if the right head coach is brought in and they offer him the captaincy.

TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 19: Brayden Point #21 of the Tampa Bay Lightning scores the game winning goal past Joonas Korpisalo #70 the Columbus Blue Jackets at 5:12 during the first overtime period to win Game Five in the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 19, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Getting back to the draft picks. 3 first round picks are nice. However, as noted the team is in desperate need of a top line center. They could offer the lower of the first round picks and goalie Joonas Koprisalo and get themselves a top center.

If that happens then it is indeed a reload. Yesterday Davidson said something interesting he stated that it was a great asset to have 3 first round picks. That it gives the Blue Jackets “something to work with.”

After the conclusion of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, more dominoes should fall. Namely a head coach and the Jones contract situation. Then the reload-rebuild picture should clear up.

Despite the verbiage from Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes there is a total rebuild coming

“Please don’t get mad at me if I don’t use the word ‘rebuild,’ if I just continue to pivot toward retool.” Newly crowned Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently said. Holmes also said he was going to take time and review the entire Lions roster. Reading between the lines, a full bloated rebuild is about to take place.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Vice Chair Sheila Ford Hamp watches the pregame warms ups prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

During the interview process, Brad Holmes offered very blunt and very honest assessments of the Detroit Lions roster to both Owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team President and CEO Ron Wood. Holmes then offered a bold plan for what he would do if he were offered the GM job. Which he was.

Yet the Detroit Lions are in a badly needed full rebuild. No matter if he is saying it publicly or behind closed doors, Holmes is a smart man who by all accounts is a very good talent evaluator. Given his crash course on the Lions roster he has to know this is not a retool, reshuffling or any other fluffy fan friendly connotation.

This needs to be a total teardown. All the way to the studs rebuild. Yet, Holmes did say there are building blocks on the defense. A defense that finished last in most categories mind you. Which is his correct. The problem is those players/ building blocks are few.

Holmes said the plan is to put the most competitive team possible out  on the field in 2021. Did you catch that? Competitive. He wants the Lions to be battling better. He did not say he expects or promise a quick turn around or the Lions to win more games. Just to be more competitive.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 26: A general exterior view of Ford Field prior to the start of the Quick Lane Bowl between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Ford Field on December 26, 2014 in Detroit Michigan. Rutgers defeated North Carolina 40-21. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have the fourth most losses in the NFL since 2018, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia (both fired during the season) left the roster with a lack of both talent and depth leaving for little choice other than a rebuild.

Holmes did also say he prefers to build through the draft so at this moment it does not sound like he will spend much in free agency. So no matter if it is worded rebuild, retool or reshuffle, major changes are coming to the Detroit Lions.

 

In selecting a new head football coach the Detroit Lions must look for these key ingredients

With the recent departure of former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, much was brought to light about what Patricia did not do during his time on the Lions sidelines. The list is long and I do not feel like rehashing. That said, with the organization now searching for a new general manager and a new head football coach here is what I feel the Lions need to look for.

Whoever is chosen to be the Detroit Lions next head coach, that person must be flexible. Flexible in terms of schemes as well as in-game changes when things are not going well. That is one of my biggest issues I had with Matt Patricia. He simply refused to change anything during a game. He was going to stick to the game plan come hell or high water. Most of the time the water was over Patricia’s head.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 24: A general exterior view of Ford Field as fans line up to enter before the game between the Detroit Lions and the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Chargers 38-10. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)

Understanding. The next head coach in the Motor City needs to have a clear understanding of every situation, not only gameday, but in the practices and film studies leading up to a game. Understanding other teams weaknesses as well as creating mismatches and exploiting them. That is another area Patricia struggled in mightily.

The one characteristic the new Detroit Lions must have in my opinion is strong leadership. A team can never and will never have or develop a winning culture unless the main leader is strong. Strong leaders also command the respect of players, assistant coaches, front office personnel and owners. Good leaders are willing to listen to others for the greater good.

First and foremost the Detroit Lions need to hire a new general manger. That said the front office needs to be doing homework on possible head coaches. There needs to be open discussions and finally an agreement on all sides.

For an organization that is about to rebuild yet again, the next step is critical.

 

One thing the Detroit Lions need to do in order to move the franchise forward

I have been a Detroit Lions fan since 1980. That makes me a bit of a Lions historian. I’m not bragging nor am I trying to brag. It just comes with time served as a Lions fan. During that time I have seen a lot of bad football, moments of good football while great football has been mostly absent. There is a reason for that, let’s dig in.

Detroit Lions running back Billy Sims receives a hand off in a 23-7 win over the Chicago Bears on November 22, 1981 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

When I first began watching the Detroit Lions they had just drafted Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims from the Oklahoma Sooners. Sims would be the featured player for the Lions until a knee injury ended his playing career. Did you catch that? Billy Sims was the Lions featured player. No other name. One guy to carry the entire team. The question is would Sims have had a career ending knee injury if there were others to help out?

Barry Sanders, he of some of the most jaw-dropping moves I or anyone has ever seen. He was a human highlight reel. This time the Lions sort of came to their senses and also drafted wide receiver Herman Moore. Together Sanders and Moore brought the Detroit offense more balance than it had had before. Yet, two players are not enough to get a team to a championship.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after catching a six yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter of the NFL game at Ford Field on October 18, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Bears 37-34 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Calvin Johnson, here is one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever had. The Lions reverted back to their bad ways and did not put anyone around him. Like Barry Sanders, by the age of 30 Calvin Johnson had had enough and retired. Figuring the Lions would not bring in enough talent to seriously compete.

For current Detroit Lions owner Shelia Ford Hamp, she has taken over a team with some talent. No really. Even though former head coach Matt Patricia could not figure out how to make it all work there is actually more than one player to set the Lions up for a positive future.

Kenny Golladay, T. J. Hockenson, Taylor Decker, D’ Andre Swift, Amani Oruwarye and a few others, give the Lions some young base talent for the next general manager and head coach.

Yes the Lions are going to rebuild. But the players listed are building blocks. It will be interesting to see the process they franchise takes moving forward. But the cupboard is not bare.

An updated look at the state of the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons and Lions rebuild’s

All four Detroit Michigan sports teams are under construction. Rebuilds across the board. It has not been a fun time for the sports enthusiasts around the state of Michigan and the rest of the country. Yet here we are, it is time to update the four major sports teams rebuild efforts to date.

Let’s take a look at the worst and possibly longest rebuild in sports, or close to it. The Detroit Lions. Bob Quinn was brought in from the New England Patriots and there was hype when he arrived in Motown. The hype is gone, fans have soured and the Lions are a total mess. Losers of 11 games in a row with no end in sight. The Lions should fire Quinn and all associated with him and start from scratch.

The Detroit Pistons, In better shape than the Lions (who is not?) The Pistons have young talent to build around. Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood give the Pistons some nice players to build around. The Detroit Pistons are armed with some cap space for the first time in a long time so that will help speed the process up a bit.

The Detroit Tigers, the Tigers also have some nice young talent to build around. Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Isaac Paredes, Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene are a few of the names Tiger fans should know or begin to learn. The Tigers still have work to do on the rebuild, however they are in good shape moving forward.

The Detroit Red Wings, general manager Steve Yzerman is still building his team. Like the Tigers the Red Wings have some nice prospects to build around. With the No. 4 pick in the first round Yzerman is poised to bring in another high-end prospect, not to mention Yzerman also has cap space. Cap space is a good thing it is even better when a GM with a proven history of spending wisely is in charge.

So there it is in a nutshell. The Lions are a mess as usual, the Pistons, Tigers and Red Wings are advancing rather nicely in the rebuilding of the respected organization.

I am sticking with my initial thought that the Detroit Red Wings finish their rebuild first.

 

The Detroit Red Wings must show improvement 2020-21

The Detroit Red Wings rebuild has gone on for about three full years now. With current Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman overseeing the past two years. The 2020-21 NHL season is critical to the rebuild. Since Yzerman arrived in Motown the organization has been trending upward.

This season in order for a light to be seen at the end of the long rebuild tunnel, The Detroit Red Wings need prospects to play, in Detroit, at Little Caesars Arena to be exact.  Prospects such as  Mathis Bromé, Gustav Lindström, , Evgeny Svechnikov Joseph Veleno, and Filip Zadina an others need NHL playing time.

By perhaps adding a goalie in free agency and another player the Red Wings will not become a contender during the 2020-21 season. They organization can however takes steps towards becoming a contender.

Yzerman, understands todays NHL is a young players league now. The Red Wings have long believed in sending prospects development. No matter a players draft position they are sent to the minors to fine tune their skills.

That said the Red Wings do have players who need to take the next step which is NHL time. It is something the Columbus Blue Jackets have done with most of their top prospects.

The future of the Red Wings will be centered around the teams top line of Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, and Anthony Mantha. The Red Wings now need to fill in other lines with players who will be playing on the other three lines.

This is where the Detroit Red Wings rebuild is. It is time to the next step or phase (depending how you like to say it.) The team is preparing to add another prospect during this years NHL draft.

This season will be a measure marker for the Detroit organization.

The Detroit Red Wings could be in position to be buyers

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has never had a problem working the phone when it comes to upgrading the teams he has been in charge of. The Red Wings with $43 million in cap space available and the NHL salary cap expected to stay at $81.5 million Yzerman could look to make a deal or two.

With only Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha needing new deals, the Detroit Red Wings will have enough money to sign a player or two to help begin to bring the Red Wings play back to a more respectable level.

NHL teams such as the Washington Capitols, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues who were beaten in the NHL playoffs and some others could look to to moves players in an attempt to shake up current rosters.

There is little doubt as Yzerman and the rest of the Red Wings organization waits for prospects to develop, he will be looking to upgrade the roster to help the continued growth of Dylan Larkin, Matha, Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek and a couple of others.

Bringing in savvy veterans be it by trade or free agent signings, will go a long way to help the Detroit Red Wings rebuild. Yzerman, has typically been able to get players to sign for reasonable deals in both term and length. That said it is possible the Detroit GM looks for a player who will be around longer than one to two years.

While the Red Wings rebuild presses on, steps need to be taken to ensure it is done properly. Steve Yzerman understands this and will make his off season to-do list with the intention of being smart with the cap space while improving the roster with an eye on the future. Even if that is to sign a player for three or four years.

This is a big off season for the Detroit Red Wings. It is time to begin to add a player or two, perhaps more to keep the Red Wings moving forward. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

The Detroit Tigers should be sellers at the MLB trade deadline

Embed from Getty Images The time is coming. The time is not now. What time is that you say? Time for the Detroit Tigers to add to the core players who the organization hopes will pull them out of a rebuild and in to contention again. Until that time arrives the Tigers need to sell off players and continue to add to the prospect pool.

The Detroit Tigers are coming off a 2019 season that had very few silver linings as they chalked up 114 losses. While the Tigers minor league system is ranked #5 or #6 depending on who is doing the rankings. The system still needs to improve.

The Detroit Tigers must sell. They have some nice players to offer.  C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Cameron Maybin and starting pitcher Ivan Nova could be rentals for teams aiming for the MLB Postseason.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, who is controlled through 2022 was  shopped by Tigers general manager Al Avila last season but no trade was made as rumors circulated the Tigers were asking for a premium return for the left-handed pitcher.

In the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season, teams will have a short window to decide if they needs to add a player for a playoff push. In my opinion this could be a busy trade season in the 60 game sprint to the playoffs.

Matthew Boyd very well could be moved this summer for a team with the assets to gain his services. This would help the Detroit rebuild as it could potentially add more talent to the Tigers farm system.

With some very good pitching in the system, Avila has focused on hitters in the last two MLB drafts. The Tigers have more than enough arms to make up for Boyd should he be dealt. The team should focus on middle infielders in any return should Boyd be traded.