The Weekly Reader Vol. 13: Whirlwind Week


The last seven days have been quite an adventure in Columbus, Ohio.  The day after the fun-filled writing of The Weekly Reader Vol. 12:  Offseason News and Notes, just prior to the 2011 NHL entry draft, the Blue Jackets announced the closest thing this franchise has had to a blockbuster trade:  their first-round pick (number eight overall), third-round pick, and winger Jakub Voracek were headed to Philadelphia.  The prize?  The Flyers’ all-star center Jeff Carter.  For those of you out there who just asked, “Who?  Who?’, here’s a little more information about the swap…

First things first, a farewell wish to Jake Voracek, who’s really been a lot of fun to have in town for the past three seasons.  He’ll be remembered primarily for not living up to his potential as a Blue Jacket, but there’s still time for his career to develop.  He’s got size and speed and a wealth of talent, but he always seemed to be oh-so-close without consistently being able to hit his stride, especially scoring.  (Which, as a winger, is just slightly important.)  And of course, who could forget those flowing red locks or the stories of Jake singing old-school American rock ‘n’ roll tunes in the locker room.  I’m sure he’ll be missed in Columbus by fans and teammates, and here’s hoping he finds success in Philadelphia.

Jeff Carter is, emphatically, the first-line center the Blue Jackets have been trying to land for, well, Rick Nash’s entire career.  (Nash entered the NHL as the number one overall pick by Columbus in 2002.)  Carter has played his entire career in Philadelphia, and was selected to the NHL all-star team in 2009.  The scouting reports I’ve read say he’s a tough customer and a great teammate.  He finished last year’s regular season with 36 goals and 30 assists.  Placed on the Jackets’ top forward line with Captain Rick Nash, the duo should provide a lethal scoring combination for a team that has struggled often to put pucks in the net.  We’ve seen Cap’n Nash elevate the entire team on many occasions; imagine how good he could be now that he has someone to help elevate his game…

It should also be noted — though history will likely forget, so long as he plays well in Columbus and doesn’t stir up drama / visit Edward Rife’s tattoo parlor — that Carter was (and probably still is) pretty cheesed-off about the trade.  According to his first statement after several days of angry silence, he indicated it was not about going to Columbus….but of course, he couldn’t say it even if it were true.  But if you’d just been reassured by your boss that you weren’t being considered for a trade away from your 11-year contract with a perennial playoff and Stanley Cup contender, wouldn’t you be bumming just a little to come to…Columbus?

Another Big Departure

In a fairly inevitable move, the Blue Jackets parted ways with another former first-round pick, Nikita Filatov.  He was sent to Ottawa last week for a third-round pick in the 2011 draft.  Speaking of guys who haven’t lived up to their potential, Filatov sure flamed-out in the organization.  His first-ever game resulted in a hat trick against Minnesota; but by the end, he wasn’t even scoring on the farm team.  His reputed immaturity and prima donna attitude certainly won’t help his legacy in Columbus, he’ll scarcely be missed.

Did You Notice?

It seems pretty obvious to me:  Blue Jackets General Manager @GMScottHowson must read The Weekly Reader.  Just days after I ripped him for sitting on his hands with personnel moves, failing to acquire a top center, and picking troubled young Russians, Scottie H. addressed all these shortcomings with his decisions and deals.  There has been no official word on whether any upper-deckers were taken in Nationwide Arena or around the NHL.

On the Move

This weekend, The Weekly Reader will hit the open roads for the third annual Fourth of July Americana road trip with two of my closest friends in the world.  I hope you too get to enjoy your friends, family, and freedom this Independence Day weekend.  And to Jeff, Jake, Nikita, and all others who are hitting the open road to move to another place, I wish the very best to you in your new adventures.