Honestly, I’m fascinated by the situation the Blue Jackets find themselves in approaching the trade deadline. It seems clear that neither Sergei Bobrovsky nor Artemi Panarin are going to sign with the team and are intent on seeking their worth in the free agency market this Summer.
That’s really two of the top 4-5 players on a team currently sitting in a playoff spot.
What would you do?
Rumor has it the team is open to trading them, but the price is high. Very high. Fans seem to think the asking price is too high, and they will need to drop it because every other team knows they are only renting them at this point, they are going to free agency regardless.
Maybe the price will drop, and they’ll decide they want to get something instead of letting them walk.
On the other hand, this is a playoff team, one that has never given its fan base a playoff series win. How do you sell that to the fans and the season ticket holders? I’m not sure that is going to fly. You need to get some significant talent back so that you don’t sabotage this season, because doing that is going to be wildly unpopular in Columbus.
Recently on Twitter I was involved in a discussion with an Islanders fan about whether the Islanders should pay the price to get Panarin and “take their shot” this season because there’s no guarantee they’ll be in this situation again next year. There’s some validity to that. My retort, however, was if you look at it that way outside of Columbus, you have to ask yourself why the Jackets wouldn’t likewise take their shot, and just keep them both if they can’t get their price this season?
It may backfire, it won’t guarantee a playoff run of any type, but neither does trading them for 25 cents on the dollar.
How much risk is the Jackets front office willing to tolerate? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.