Last summer, the club made two bold moves, acquiring center Jeff Carter from Philadelphia and signing free agent defenseman James Wisniewski to a long-term contract.
Carter is now in Los Angeles, having been traded to the Kings last month.
All eyes will be on captain Rick Nash, whom almost everyone in the hockey community believes will be traded this summer, likely around the NHL Entry Draft in late-June.
For the time being, Howson will continue to explore options involving Nash, but the team has plenty of other decisions to make.
Veteran winger Kristian Huselius, who has battled injuries for the last two seasons, might not be brought back next season. He's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Depending on the type of return Columbus receives for Nash, the Blue Jackets will look to add a veteran winter to the roster, via free agency.
In goal, the team is not expected to enter the 2012-13 campaign with Steve Mason as their starting netminder. The Blue Jackets will feverishly search for a new No. 1 goalie this off-season, and will likely explore the trade market, as not too many goaltenders are set to hit the open market.
Mason could be dealt, though the team has dangled him for over a year without any takers.
Defensemen Marc Methot and Fedor Tyutin were dangled, at times this season, as trade bait, though it's believed the team's preference is to keep Methot. Columbus can explore dealing Tyutin before July 1, when his new six-year, $27 million contract kicks in, which includes a limited no-movement clause.