If I Were Scott Howson…

This morning, the hockey Twittersphere exploded with news that Rick Nash, the face (if not the heart and soul) of the Columbus Blue Jackets, could be moved if the price is right.  Though a bit shocking on the surface, trading Nash would be a sensible move for GM Scott Howson, given the unmitigated disaster that is the Blue Jackets’ 2011-2012 season.  In fact, given the magnitude of the problem in Columbus, trading Nash is but one piece of the puzzle.  If I were Howson, here’s how I’d make lemonade out of lemons:

  • Send Nash to the New York Rangers for Brandon DubinskyWojtek Wolski, a prospect (preferably D-man Tim Erixon) and the Rangers’ 2012 1st round pick.
  • Trade The Jeff Carter Experiment, along with goalie Curtis Sanford and the Blue Jackets’ 2012 2nd round pick, to Vancouver for Ryan Kesler and Cory Schneider.  Columbus needs to build from the crease out, and sadly, Steve Mason isn’t the answer.  Schneider is ready to be a starter in the NHL.
  • Deal Sammy Pahlsson for whatever you can get (a draft pick or two).
  • Ditto for Antoine Vermette.
  • If you can’t find any takers for Steve Mason, waive him.  Still no takers for his $2.9mil cap hit?  He spends next season in Springfield, where he will (hopefully) find his mojo.
  • In the offseason, let the following Free Agents walk:  Kristian Huselius, Radek Martinek, Brett Lebda, Aaron Johnson.
  • Last, but certainly not least, hire the best head coach available.  Randy Carlyle comes to mind.

In addition to making the aforementioned changes, prepare to play the kids next season, letting them grow into their roles.  Give Derek Dorsett the “C” – he’s earned it.  If Scott Howson can pull off the above moves, the 2012-2013 Columbus Blue Jackets should look something like this:

R.J. Umberger – Ryan Kesler – Ryan Johansen

Brandon Dubinsky – Derick Brassard – Cam Atkinson

Wojtek Wolski – Vinny Prospal – Derek Dorsett

Mark Letestu- Derek MacKenzie- Jared Boll

John Moore – Fedor Tyutin

James Wisniewski – Marc Methot

Nikita Nikitin – Tim Erixon

Cory Schneider

Mark Dekanich

If – and that’s a HUGE “if” – Scott Howson can ice a lineup somewhere in the neighborhood of that (with Nail Yakupov growing his game for another year in the CHL), the future of the Blue Jackets could be bright, indeed.


About Matt Pryor

Freelance writer of hockey, history and travel. Born and raised in Texas. Saw first hockey game 22 FEB 1980 (USA 4, USSR 3), was instantly hooked. Attended first NHL game 26 DEC 1981 (Colorado Rockies 6, Calgary Flames 3). Semi-retired beer league player. Shoots left.


9 thoughts on “If I Were Scott Howson…

  1. In what world is Carter and a 2nd worth Schneider and Kesler? And how the hell do the Rangers get Nash for Dubinsky, Erixon, and a 1st?? Keep the sports writing to your journal and lay off NHL 12.

    Posted by Nik Krushnisky | February 14, 2012, 13:44
  2. Why would the Vancouver Canucks trade Kesler and Schneider for Carter, Sanford and 2rd pick? This makes no sense. With your fantasy roster for next season, you put Kelser as a first line center, and Schneider as the number 1 goalie. Coming back Vancouver’s way is a player that won’t make 30points this year with Carter, and a washed up veteran goalie that Vancouver has already had, and what is essentially the 31st overall pick in a poor draft year.

    If Mike Gillis made this trade, he would be the laughing stock of the NHL and probably shot by the fans in Vancouver.

    When making fantasy trades, you need to make them at least plausible.

    Posted by Bill Mellow (@BillMellow) | February 14, 2012, 13:45
    • The trade makes sense in that Vancouver gets a player who will consistently put more pucks in nets than Kesler (Kesler’s 41-goal season was an anomaly – check his career shooting pct.), plus a solid, non-threatening backup in Sanford (check his stats with Columbus – to call him “washed up” is premature). The fact that Kesler would center the top line in Columbus doesn’t mean he’s a true #1; it speaks more to the Jackets’ lack of depth.

      That said, Schneider is (obviously) worth more than Sanford and a 2nd round pick. Carter is an upgrade over Kesler, which balances out the trade, IMO.

      Posted by ogasbigtex | February 14, 2012, 14:07
      • In what world is Carter, underachieving locker-room poison, an upgrade over the reigning Selke winner?

        Posted by whatswellydoing | February 14, 2012, 14:47
  3. Kesler won an entire round almost by himself last year vs Nashville. Why would the Canucks want to downgrade grit for a floater like Carter? Carter would be welcome for his *additional* scoring. He is a proven sniper but the Canucks need playoff grit and Carter is not that player; Kesler is. It is not that Kesler cannot score, he currently is doing just that.

    Let’s look at the numbers. In the past seven games these are their stats. Jeff Carter 2g 1a 0 +/-. And Kesler? 5g 1a +2. This year, Carter is a -8 and Kesler +14. Whatever Carter’s former worth, his value is down considerably this year.

    So, Carter is not really a hell of an upgrade, is he?

    Posted by Keith Loh | February 14, 2012, 14:23
    • Technically I agree with you on Carter being less valuable than Kesler, but you used +/- as a serious argument and looked at a mere seven game span. You realize Carter plays on a team with nearly the worst goaltending in the league and non-existent defense, right? Of course his +/- is going to be utter crap. Plus/minus is the worst statistic for any realistic analysis of individual player performance. You do not isolate anything, and it’s too dependent on the miserable play around you.

      Also, Carter is historically proven as a better scorer than Kesler (typically 30 goals, versus Kesler’s 20 per year). He’s having a down season, but he’s also been affected by injuries and low-quality playmakers on his team. So while it’s fair to say that Kesler is the more complete player, you severely under-rate Carter by judging the Blue Jackets.

      Posted by Matt | February 14, 2012, 16:07


  1. Pingback: How the Columbus Blue Jackets suddenly made Rick Nash trade bait | courtneyallenbernard.com - February 14, 2012

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