Former Blue Jackets players have helped their new teams jump into the
second round of the playoffs.
CHICAGO, IL -- One of the unique themes running through the 2012
Stanley Cup playoffs is the great job the Columbus Blue Jackets did of
building championship-caliber rosters.
Yes, the Blue Jackets.
While cynics around the league are trying to feel bad for the woeful
Jackets losing the draft lottery, too many people are ignoring the job
they did of helping build winning rosters all over the NHL during the
last 12 months.
Look back to the day between the NHL Awards and the 2011 NHL Entry
Draft last summer. I was sitting in McCarran International Airport
chatting with Anson Carter just after both of our phones finished
vibrating for almost two minutes. The texts and tweets were flying
fast and furious: the Philadelphia Flyers were imploding.
Of course, that was the day Paul Holmgren traded Mike Richards to Los
Angeles and Jeff Carter to Columbus. The Jackets traded forward Jakub
Voracek and two picks -- the eighth overall and a third rounder -- to
Philly for the superstar center.
Voracek has been one of the best players on the Flyers this
post-season, posting seven points (two goals, five assists) in the
first round. The eighth overall pick was used on forward Sean
Couturier, who had four points (three goals, one assist) in the series
against Pittsburgh. The 19-year-old Couturier is also skating over 17
minutes per game for the Flyers in the series.
You can't assume or predict what Carter might have done in this
series, but there's no denying the impact of Voracek and Couturier.
But the Jackets aren't done helping other franchises succeed.
Fast forward to Feb. 22, when the Jackets were (finally) ready to
sell. Columbus thought enough of Ottawa's second round pick in 2012
and a fifth round pick in 2013 from Phoenix to send center Antoine
Vermette to the Coyotes. When he was traded, Vermette had 27 points
and was minus-17 in 60 games.
After leaving Ohio for the desert, Vermette posted ten points in the
final 22 games of the regular season and has been the most potent
offensive weapon for the Coyotes (four goals in the first round)
against the Blackhawks.
The generosity of the Jackets has been appreciated in Phoenix.
But they weren't done yet.
Admitting that the deal for Carter wasn't working out, Columbus moved
the unhappy center to join his good friend Richards in Los Angeles
before the deadline.
In return, the Jackets received defensemen Jack Johnson and the Kings'
first round pick in the 2012 or 2013 Draft (which would be in the
lower half of the round this year).
Carter had 15 goals in only 39 games for the Jackets, but missed a lot
of action. He finished the regular season in LA well, scoring six
times in 16 games and helping the Kings land the eighth playoff spot
in the West.
In the three games to open the series against Vancouver, Carter has
averaged over 19 minutes per night and has two assists in the three
So let's put all of these deals together.
In total, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded away four forwards that
have combined to help their current teams jump into the second round
of the playoffs.
In return, the Jackets have picked up Jack Johnson, a future first
round pick from Los Angeles, a second round pick in 2012 and a fifth
round pick in 2013.
I don't mean to pick on the Blue Jackets, but it's hard to ignore how
players they had at one point in the last year having superb playoff
runs. And it's no wonder that Rick Nash is at least intrigued at the
possibilities that could come if he follows these former teammates out