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Back in action and some clean up

January 29, 2019, 3:30 PM ET [7 Comments]
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Let’s do the Clean Up first.

This time of year, it is fun to speculate about possible trade deals. Earlier this week I threw out the idea of trading Murray. Reactions varied about securing Simmonds or the Oilers’ 1st round pick. But there was quite a bit of chatter about Jeff Skinner. It seemed most believe that the suggested trade was lopsided in the way of Columbus. Some suggested Skinner would go for nothing less than a 1st rounder. Another suggestion was that BUF gets Murray and Wennberg (neither player a rental and Wen signed through 2023) with CBJ getting Skinner and a 2nd (which turns into a 3rd if he signs in CBJ). Maybe going too far to the BUF side with that one.

Skinner was traded to BUF for a 2nd, 3rd and 6th at the beginning of the season. To have him return a 1st now seems unreasonable given there are only 30 some games left. Or is it…Muzzin set the bar a little higher than expected netting a 1st and an NHL level player. True, Muzzin isn’t a rental, but he isn’t exactly a top pair guy all the time either. Skinner is a top scorer and potential long-time star. If I’m BUF, I do everything I can to sign him before the deadline…and probably keep him regardless.

The Panarin/CBJ situation is looking more and more like Tavares/Islanders last year. The latest from his agent: “We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season…” He seems to be just stringing C-Bus along while having a successful season on ice. If I’m GM, I keep him around and see how far we can go with him.

In contrast, I see what I can get for Bob. I’m not saying the relationship isn’t salvageable, I just don’t believe the Jackets can re-sign him. Nor do I believe he will hold his value much longer given his current play. I guess Pittsburgh though that about Fleury at one time too. Is getting a 1st round draft pick a reasonable return for the 2-time Vezina Trophy winner? Anything equal to a 2nd and 4th would return Columbus what they paid for him.



Back in Action

Seems like a long time has passed since the Jackets dropped the last two games before All-Star Weekend. Good news is the boys-in-blue are in front of the home town fans tonight, bad news is that the Polar Vortex may keep that crowd small. Good news is that in addition to the All-Star break the CBJ also had extended time off leading up to it. Bad news is that Patty Kane decided to take down Seth in the ASG and now he is a little banged up, but not out.

Buffalo is the opponent coming in and the cold should not bother them or the fans that always seem to invade NWA so well. Sabres are sniffing the playoffs, only 4 points out of a Wild Card spot. They should be hungry for a win and to push closer to a playoff spot (and to become buyers at the deadline rather than sellers).

All signs point to Bobrovsky starting tonight. Hannikainen is back in the lineup from IR and Letestu got called up but is likely to be a scratch. Jenner is out (day-to-day). Hopefully St. Louis will get an anemic PP (14.6%) moving in the right direction.

The top two lines feature Skinner, Eichel and Atkinson, Panarin. Defense beware of that speed and scoring ability.

With 30+ games left counting points seems a fool’s errand. But, this game creates a 4-point swing between the winner and loser, at least for Wild Card standings. Columbus is on pace for a 101-point season but needing 21 wins out of the last 34 to get there. That number (101 points) sounds like a number that will land C-Bus in the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. Stating the obvious, the first step to winning a playoff series is to make the playoffs.

Do the Jackets break the 100-point mark this season?
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