After getting thumped by a 7-1 margin to the Devils in New Jersey on Sunday, the Blue Jackets have spent the last handful of days in Finland. Touring Helsinki as part of the NHL’s Global Series, the club headed up to Tampere this morning and will prepare to face the defending Cup champion Avalanche in back-to-back games tomorrow and Saturday. Still trying to find footing this season, is it possible that this trip could be the best thing to happen for the team?
To say that the start of the season has been underwhelming for the Jackets, would be a huge understatement. Sitting dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 3-7-0 record (6 pts); the team is not only losing games – they’re losing them by a wide margin. Their -18 goal differential is tied with Anaheim for worst in the league.
We talked about losing being part of the building process in Columbus, and I still believe that to be true. This team desperately needs to find another top-six center prospect, and the upcoming draft is a great place to do that. We’ll survive a year of struggles if it means we can have a Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli. That’s the kind of player you can build a Championship organization with.
Really, if the team is rolling out something Fantilli-Johnson-Sillinger down the middle in a few years (in whatever order), we would probably look back at this year fondly as the year that launched our team into a completely different stratosphere. It’s just not real fun to watch as it happens.
But what cannot happen, and has to change right now – this team quitting when momentum turns against them. It feels like we’ve seen that more times this season than we have in the last several seasons combined. The culture built by the previous coaching regime here, is vital to this organization’s success. We can’t have a team that quits now, because it will teach the younger players coming into the league that quitting is acceptable.