Forget the fans, Howson should sell
With the NHL trade deadline a week away, the decision whether to buy or sell rests not only in the mind of Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson, but in the mail of season ticket-holders.
The 2008-09 ticket renewal packages arrived at homes and businesses the past few days. It will be interesting to see if they are immediately returned with a renewal check, are held for a few weeks to see whether the Jackets strengthen the roster through trades -- either to add talent now in hopes of making the playoffs or to slash payroll so they can afford to bring in better players in the offseason -- or are burned in protest.
Complicating matters is the fact much of his core is set to be unrestricted: top defencemen Adam Foote, Jan Hejda and Ron Hainsey, as well as forwards David Vyborny, Mike Peca and Sergei Fedorov.
If Howson's going to sell, there's a lot of value there.
The fact is, the Blue Jackets are out of it. To make the playoffs last season in the Western Conference, the Flames finished in eighth with 96 points — and Columbus would have to go 16-3-1 to close the year to pull that off.
Even if the cutoff is 92, they'd still need a dream run, 14-5-1, to sneak in.
It's not going to happen, and Howson needs to ignore the media hype, the fact his arena is half full and the likely pressure from ownership and somehow guide this team toward next season. If he tries to be a buyer, or hangs onto his pending UFAs, in the hopes of some last-ditch push, it's going to come up short, and they'll have bet the farm on a pipe dream.
The fans in Columbus certainly deserve a playoff contender by now, but the only way that's happening is if they can hold out one more year.
It's going to be interesting.
Labels: Blue Jackets