The Columbus Blue Jackets relied on Jim Clark as the second general manager of the franchise, although it was only on an interim basis. His only move could have changed the face of team history forever, until Scott Howson ruined it.
Most Columbus Blue Jackets fans likely don’t remember Jim Clark. He was the interim general manager between Doug MacLean and Scott Howson and he only made one trade during his stint.
According to NHLtradetracker.com, that move was trading Adam McQuaid to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2007 entry draft. While that doesn’t seem too interesting, what happened with the pick afterwards is a tragic tale that has haunted the Blue Jackets silently.
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As soon as Scott Howson took over the office, his first move at the entry draft was trading three fifth round picks, #128 and #129 (which was acquired by Jim Clark) and #149 for a fourth round pick. #128 and #149 turned out to be Austin Smith and Michael Neal. #129 would later turn the Dallas Stars organization into an annual contender. The pick was future captain Jamie Benn.
Jamie Benn has since scored 596 points in 667 games in his career and is seemingly a potential future hall of fame candidate if his level of play continues at this level. He set his career high in goals in 2015-2016 with 41 and a career high in points the same year with 89 as a finalist for the Hart Trophy.
If he had been drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets with that pick, the team may look a lot different today. While there’s no guarantee that he would’ve been the selection, it’s hard to argue that trading away that pick could easily be considered one of the worst decisions in team history.
The Columbus Blue Jackets temporarily put trust in Jim Clark and he made a decision that could’ve set the team up for years to come. However thanks to Scott Howson, it wasn’t meant to be.