With Russia losing in the quarterfinals of the Olympic Tournament, and the Russian Blue Jackets set to return home from Russia, I got to thinking what our lineup can look like when we Marian Gaborik returns to action. Then I read our own Julia Lawrence’s Blue Jackets Roster Shuffle: What Will Gaborik’s Return Mean?, and she answered that question for me. So I thought about the other end of the spectrum, what will the Blue Jackets do with Marian Gaborik, trade him or keep him?
The Blue Jackets are currently 8th in the league in scoring, and that is with Gaborik only playing in 18 of the 58 games this season. Their offense has been clicking on all cylinders as of late, even through the rash of injuries this team has taken this year. A healthy Gaborik could propel the offense into the top 5, he did have 12 points in those 18 games, and being healthy could mean the world to a player who hasn’t really been healthy for what seems like a long time now.
I would love to see Gaborik come back and make this offense move from the good category to the elite category, but what if he gets hurt again? What if me miss a chance to move a player that could get us some quality depth on the blue line or the forward crop? Would we be kicking ourselves if we miss a chance to bring another Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and Tim Erixon set over for a player like Gaborik at the deadline? Making the right move could load the Blue Jackets roster with NHL talent, and a bunch of it.
You have to remember Gabby is 32, an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of this year, and is making $7.5M this season. What will his next contract be, will he want to resign here in Columbus, would he take a pay cut to stay on a team on the rise? It’s not like the front office has a lot of time to weigh their option with the trade deadline approaching, March 5th to be exact. They have four games to decide if they want to move him, before they would have to keep him and try to resign him in the offseason.
Deep down I say keep him, he is a true scorer in every sense of the word, and if he is healthy, it could be another dangerous scorer that could come in handy during the playoffs. He has scored 40 goals three times, and at least 30 goals another four times in his NHL career.
It would be nice to load up on some talent, and that is a real possibility that could happen. If I were John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen however, I would think long and hard about riding it out with Gabby. You went and got him last year for a reason, to have a proven scorer in the lineup. Now with his injuries some other proven scorers have stepped up, and he could be the missing piece to something really special.
As always let me know what you think, what should the Blue Jackets do, Keep Marian Gaborik or trade him?