After Big Trades, Jackets Not Feeling So Blue

After Big Trades, Jackets Not Feeling So Blue
Blue Jackets

After Big Trades, Jackets Not Feeling So Blue

General Manager Scott Howson has been like a mad scientist since the start of free agency, mixing up a formula he hopes will be a cure for the Blue Jackets losing ways.

By Eric Geier

Who’s Gone?

    So far, the Blue Jackets have traded Gilbert Brule, Dan Fritsche and Nikolai Zherdev. In addition, the Jackets are not planning on re-signing the last original Blue Jacket, David Vyborny.

Who’s Here?

Mike Commodore (D) - Signed a 5-year deal with the Jackets. Commodore is your next Jody Shelley, except he can also skate, score and hit people in the open ice. He stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds.  In 67 games last year he only registered 11 points, mainly due to a lack of identity, as he was shuffled between teams. He also registered 100 penalty minutes. Howson explained his reasoning behind the signing, saying, "We are building a team identity based on competitiveness and being hard to play against and Mike fits that very well.” Also adding, "He is a physical presence on the blueline, has won championships at various levels throughout his career and we think he will be an excellent addition to our hockey club."

Kristian Huselius (F) - Inked a four-year, $19 million dollar deal. The 29-year old becomes Nikolai Zherdev’s replacement. In his career, Huselius has recorded two 20-goal seasons and one 30-goal season. Over the past two seasons with Calgary he has recorded 144 points. Though Howson added some offensive flair, they had to give up Zherdev, a proven scorer. I would have liked to see them keep Zherdev, but I suppose this is all part of Howson’s master plan.

Raffi Torres (LW) - Acquired from Edmonton in a trade for Gilbert Brule. Torres only had 11 points last season because he missed 49 games with season ending knee surgery. The 26 year old will add offense and the experience of a playoff veteran to the Blue Jackets.

Fedor Tyutin (D) - Signed a 3-year deal that pays him $2.25 million next season with options for a raise after the season. Tyutin is just what Scott Howson wanted, a sound defensive player who has the skills on offense to create.  When asked about playing with the Jackets Tyutin said, “I’m excited for the chance. I talked to coach (Ken Hitchcock), and it sounds like we’re of the same page for what we can expect next season. The goal is the playoffs, right?”

Christian Backman(D) - The Blue Jackets bought out the final year of Backman’s contract with the Rangers. They will pay his $3.4 million salary next season, the last year of his contract. Backman also has some offensive skills as a defensive player, but according to the Columbus Dispatch he is “prone to making big mistakes.” Those mistakes led to being benched last season during the Rangers playoff run. Despite his mistakes, Backman is an excellent power play defender and will be expected to contribute there.

What it Means

    The Blue Jackets will not be the same team we have seen the past few years. They have acquired proven professionals with playoff and big game experience. For those that know hockey, it is clear that the Jackets are no longer a team of no names. Mike Commodore and Kristian Huselius are players you see in the highlights. The next step is meshing these players with the current Blue Jackets, including young captain Rick Nash. I believe that Ken Hitchcock has finally received the tools he needs to start building a playoff hockey club. The West better beware.

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