The most impressive point streak of 2013 still belongs to the Chicago Blackhawks, but if you consider the low, low expectations of the Columbus Blue Jackets, their current 6-0-4 run is mighty impressive as well. (Granted, it's not "hockey-saving" impressive, but still.)
After all, this is Columbus we're talking about, the surest bet to finish last in the Western Conference. Instead, a 10-game point streak suddenly has the club just 2 points out of a playoff spot.
But while this is a welcome turnaround for fans of the Blue Jackets, it couldn't have come at a worse time for anyone hoping for an eventful trade deadline this April. The Western Conference is a mess, with just 8 points separating 3rd from 15th, and with just over two weeks until the NHL trade deadline, nobody's out of it, meaning there isn't a surefire seller among the bunch.
That's what the Blue Jackets were supposed to be. Instead, it's now time to consider the possibility that Columbus might congest and complicate the market even further by becoming trade deadline buyers. Could it be so?
It must be an exciting question for fans, especially since the idea of Columbus loading up for a playoff run anticipates, you know, a playoff run. The Jackets are still without a single playoff win in their history.
Still, if I'm a Columbus fan, the thought of this club being that short-sighted, right at the moment their future looks bright, has to be a little alarming. The Blue Jackets aren't last year's LA Kings, an underachieving club that should have been a contender all along and finally managed to put it together just in time. If this group squeaks into the playoffs, they're not winning it all. They're just not. Making moves that bolster the club for this season only would just be bad management.
Thankfully, Columbus appears to be under good management now, even if new GM Jarmo Kekalainen is only just beginning to get his feet wet. But fans have to be pleased with the nuanced answers given by him and president John Davidson when asked about the buyer/seller conundrum by the Columbus Dispatch.
"Well, first of all, there's lots of hockey to be played between now and then. But when you look at these situations, you don't just give players away for nothing in return. You try to think with an attention of detail with this group, and you try to think long-term. No matter what happens, we're not going to do anything that's short-term thinking. That never makes sense."Kekalainen:
"I donít believe in reacting to the situation in hand today or tomorrow. That, to me, is taking a photograph. We have to evaluate the team and individuals all the time; itís ongoing. Because of that, there doesnít have to be any knee-jerk reactions. Weíre enjoying the good performance of the team right now."In other words, despite the Jackets knocking on the door of the postseason, they won't be buyers in the traditional sense, because they won't be looking for any short-term fixes, thank goodness. A hastier GM would see the playoffs in view and be tempted throwing some of Columbus's draft picks and prospects at a big piece.
Remember when Brian Burke was being suggested for this job?
But the longer they remain in contention, the less likely it is that they're sellers in the traditional sense either, which means this year's trade market is on the verge of losing yet another vendor.