Hot off the presses, Blue Jackets Scott Howson just traded three draft picks to the Flyers for goaltender Sergei Bobrobsky.
Good move, Blue Jackets. Really.
I know, it’s weird, that the Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson can make a good trade. It doesn’t seem possible, like Phoenix drawing a sell out crowd, or the Kings winning a Stanley Cup. I know, that sounds like I’m picking on these teams, but I’m really not. Narratives are being rewritten all the time, and the story in Columbus could be taking an turn, starting now.
The Blue Jackets have an immediate need. They have had this need for a long time, as Steve Mason wasn’t the goalie he was cracked up to be. It was pointed out (I think by Justin Bourne of Backhand Shelf, but I could be wrong) that Mason was given the starting job in Columbus not after a good season, but a good half season. Considering the goalie woes they suffered through previously, any ray of light was going to look like the clouds parted and the hand of God had reached down and touched the netminder on the shoulder. Instead, it turned out to be foot of God from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
In the situation the Blue Jackets are in, they had an immediate need, and only two assets they could trade to get that need filled, draft picks and Rick Nash. So why not just trade Rick Nash for the sweetest goalie ever, one with rocket launchers built into his blocker, and a few hockey cards in the spokes of his bike wheels? Because Rick Nash, with his no trade clause, controls his own destiny. You would be limited to where the big guy was willing to go to for trading partners. That’s just not acceptable.
I’m all for trading picks for goalies, within reason. If you have the number one draft pick, you probably shouldn’t trade it away for a goalie. That is, if you knowingly have the number one pick. But sure, throw a first rounder out there. Worried that you are overpaying? You tell me, would you rather have Angelo Esposito or a starting goalie?
In fact, let’s go to the draft in Columbus in 2007. Name the draft position you would feel comfortable with dealing away for a starting goalie. And don’t forget, you don’t have a starting goalie in your system. I would start at pick ten (inclusive), and that’s with the benefit of hindsight. Now look at this draft class. Where would you start?
I wrote about it when the Avalanche traded a first and a second round pick for the rights of Semyon Varlamov. I thought it was the right move for the Avs, and I feel that it’s the right move for the Blue Jackets. They have enough players in their minor league system to be able to spare a few lower draft picks in this draft. What they don’t have enough of are puck stoppers. Find a need, fill a need.
Strangely, the Blue Jackets did just that today. It just looks weird because it happened in Columbus.