Columbus had a very disappointing 2010-11 season, prompting GM Scott Howson to create an aggressive approach to the offseason. His first big splash was trading the #8 overall pick in the draft (Sean Couturier) and Jake Voracek to the Flyers in exchange for superstar Jeff Carter. Don’t think that’s it for Columbus, as there is more to come from this hungry franchise.
Despite rumors of Steve Mason being shopped, it looks as though he will be the number one goaltender when the puck drops in October 2011. The Jackets have started a massive makeover on the blueline by trading Rusty Klesla to Phoenix at the deadline, and not signing Sami Lepisto and Anton Stralman. They will sign Marc Methot to a long term deal and hope to come to terms with Jan Hejda before free agency starts. The plan is to also give one of John Moore or David Savard a chance to crack the top 6 once camp opens. Up front, the addition of Jeff Carter, the expected arrival of top prospect Ryan Johansen and a full season out of Matt Calvert should add some much needed goal scoring.
Columbus has just north of $14M in cap space. Fans should not expect them to use all of it, but can expect them to use about half of that to acquire a top pairing defenseman, a right winger who can play on the second or third line and an experienced backup goalie who can help mentor Steve Mason.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 2011-12 ROSTER (using CAPGEEK CAP CALCULATOR)
Antoine Vermette ($3.750m) / Jeff Carter ($5.272m) / Rick Nash ($7.800m)
Matt Calvert ($0.891m) / Ryan Johansen ($1.945m) / R.J. Umberger ($3.750m)
Kristian Huselius ($4.750m) / Derick Brassard ($3.200m) / 3RD LINE RW ($0.000m)
Derek Dorsett ($0.562m) / Samuel Pahlsson ($2.650m) / Jared Boll ($0.725m)
Derek MacKenzie ($0.600m)
#1 D-MAN ($0.000m) / Marc Methot ($2.000m EST)
Fedor Tyutin ($2.843m) / Jan Hejda ($2.500m EST)
Kris Russell ($1.300m) / John Moore ($0.965m)
Grant Clitsome ($1.250m)
Steve Mason ($2.900m) / BACKUP GOALIE ($0.000m)
BUYOUTS (not including Commodore expected buyout): Duvie Westcott ($0.616m)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000
CAP PAYROLL: $50,272,310
CAP SPACE: $14,027,690
As it stands, Columbus is a borderline playoff team, but with some savvy acquisitions, Scott Howson could get this team over the hump and into the postseason. This is definitely one of the teams to watch; not only in the offseason, but a first line of Carter and Nash could make the Jackets an exciting team to turn on the TV for too.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.