"Eyes on the Enemy" is a continuing bi-annual series on the NY Rangers Blog giving fans updates on the Rangers closest rivals. Part 1 of the Olympic version of 'EotE' will focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Any contract figures listed below are courtesy of capgeek.com
Standings: 29-24-5 (25 ROW) 1 point behind Detroit for final wild card spot; 3 points behind Philadelphia for 3rd in Metro Division.
Record vs. NYR: 2-1-0 (NYR @ CBJ 3/21)
Available Trade Deadline Cap Space: $3,998,229
Columbus entered this season by moving to the Eastern Conference via re-alignment after having finished just a point outside the Western Conference playoff picture a season ago. Coming off Sergei Bobrovsky's vezina winning season in addition to getting a full season out of Marian Gaborik and acquiring UFA Nathan Horton, was supposed to guide Columbus to their second postseason appearance in their history. Things haven't exactly gone the way fans expected back in October, but not everything has had a negative impact.
Forwards Cam Atkinson and Ryan Johansen have not only blown well past career highs in scoring they have been the unsung heroes for the Blue Jackets this season, replacing Gaborik and Horton's production in their absences. Johansen's 24 goals and 46 points lead the team comfortably in both categories and have probably made Glen Sather at some point wonder why he didn't inquire about the 21 year old and his $870K cap hit when negotiating the Gaborik trade.
It's probably still premature to discuss which team, the Rangers or the Blue Jackets, truly got the better of the two blockbuster trades between the clubs. To summarize from the Blue Jackets perspective, Brandon Dubinsky leads the Blue Jackets in assists and has become the de facto captain of the team. Artem Anisimov was supposed to be re-united on the top line with Marian Gaborik but two separate injuries have kept the sniper on the sidelines for most of the season. Tim Erixon has only 2 games under his belt in Columbus and has been assigned to the AHL and recalled a combined 9 times since the start of the season. Kerby Rychel, taken with the first round pick the Rangers gave to Columbus, was involved in a mid-season OHL trade and has 64 points in 43 games.
Looking towards the trade deadline, it's tough to gauge whether or not the Blue Jackets are going to make any significant moves beyond moving Gaborik as a rental which sounds like an inevitability at this point. The Blue Jackets were a sub .500 team heading into the 2014 calendar year before catching fire at the start of January, winning 9 out of their first 10 games before cooling off some heading into the break. If GM Jarmo Kekäläinen plays his cards correctly, the return Gaborik would fetch in a trade should not only keep the Blue Jackets competitive this season, but make them an even better club in the immediate future.
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Not to sound petty but from a journalistic perspective and just an FYI Bi-annual means every 2nd year. Is that what you mean or is it twice a year for EOTE in which case it would be "semi-annual".
So sorry Stepan wasn't substituted for Dubinsky in the Nash trade. Who knew? Any chance we can revisit that?
What a disappointment Erixon has been. He's only 22 so there's still time (where have I heard that before), but he's looking more and more like a career AHLer. Shame, his dad was awesome!
Torts did not like Dubinsky therefore he would send him packing before Stepan. I think even if Torts knew Stepan was not going live up to expectations, Dubinsky would have been shipped out just because of their relationship.
@gravey94 the argument against del zotto wasn't so much his age, but the fact that he's just played his 300th NHL game and wasn't steady enough offensively to be given consistent top 4 minutes. mcdonagh has 6 fewer goals in 80 less games than del zotto and he's not considered the offensive force from the blue line del zotto was supposed to be.
@gravey94 Maybe he should have listened to his father when they discussed the finer points of defense.
@Kevin DeLury then say goodbye to the bandwagon jumpers who pull for both teams in the division.