Columbus is quiet. Really quiet.
Except, of course, for the near-constant buzz going around among the CBJ Twitterati and the blogging community, as everyone tries to figure out who -- if anyone -- is coming to Columbus if and when Mike Commodore leaves town.
It has become very apparent in the last 36 to 48 hours that change is coming, in the hope that it will change the Columbus Blue Jackets' fortunes.
So far, that change has involved sending down Kyle Wilson — thankfully he cleared waivers first – and setting the process rolling to get Mike Commodore (who requested a trade) a ticket out of Columbus, by putting him on waivers as well.
So it’s not rocket science to think that general manager Scott Howson is up to something. The big question, of course, is precisely how it's going to happen.
The idea of moving a guy at Commodore's price point on waivers seems like an odd move. Then again, the likelihood of being able to move him via trade is not an easy task. Commodore's current cap hit, at $3.75 million, is not likely to be attractive to very many NHL teams right now. So, the challenge for Howson is, how does he sweeten the deal?
It's not that Commodore is an unattractive player on the market by any means. It's just that not many teams will take on that kind of salary without something else.
So what is the general manager to do? I'm no executive, but I'm thinking he may have to throw in a warm body, in the hope of getting an NHL-ready guy in return, even if it’s just a "depth" guy. Put Commodore on the market by himself… it might be tough to get even a couple of decent draft picks for him. That’s just my take. Others here more than likely think differently. I saw one guy who says Columbus is positioning to make a trade that would "rock the hockey world," or something like that.
It is really an unfortunate situation for Commodore. He has been a healthy scratch for seven of the last eight games, and has appeared in barely half of the Blue Jackets' games. Probably not what he had in mind to follow up last season, when he was plagued with conditioning issues.
Unfortunately for Columbus, the team has not gotten its money’s worth out of Commodore. Even sadder, the team probably won’t get its money's worth by trade, either...
... and, of course, if Commodore leaves by waivers, Columbus gets absolutely nothing.
Well, not nothing, necessarily. Columbus will have some cap room to play with, which they can use to try and get a marquee player at the trade deadline if they are still in the playoff hunt, or in free agency in the offseason. Also keep in mind – and I hate to be all doom-and-gloom – we don’t know how long the offseason will be, with the potential end of the Collective Bargaining Agreement looming.
Of course, staying in contention means playing with urgency, which does not appear to be happening lately. However, just as Scott Arniel has made lineup changes to send a message to his players over the past week or so, it is now time for Scott Howson to make some moves.
Otherwise, unless the team's play picks up, the only message the Jackets may be sending in February is "SOS."
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