CBJ Opinions asked the following question via Twitter:
"At what point does Jarmos seat get hot? Meaning how long is his leash. Similarly, I don’t think JD’s seat should be warm at all but isn’t he supposed to be a bridge to the fans? We’ve barely heard from him in a very turbulent season."
Simple response: I don’t think either seat is even warm at this point. If you take the full picture into account, it’s hard to blame Jarmo or JD for the team’s place in the standings this season. Most importantly, I think ownership is happy with the overall direction of the franchise, and they honestly should be.
First, I think they actually had a pretty decent roster coming into the year. I would argue that on paper, this is one of the most talented teams the Blue Jackets have ever iced – the roster was just very young to begin with, and then the injuries have killed any chance of success.
It’s one thing to lose a Zach Werenski, or a Justin Danforth, or a Jakub Voracek … but losing all of them at once, for the entire season, is really hard to overcome. Then they started losing the depth pieces like Jake Bean, Adam Boqvist, and Nick Blankenburg. It was going to take a whole lot of “maybes” for this team to have success this year to begin with, and it blew up dramatically due to the injury situation. Defense was the question mark they had to start the season, and losing that many defensemen at the same time, is basically a death sentence.
Second, look at what’s coming in the pipeline. This team has the best prospect pool they’ve ever had, and it’s only going to get better with another top-5 pick in this upcoming draft – which is very strong. For the first time, they aren’t bringing guys like David Jiricek up to play, even though they desperately need all the help they can get in Columbus. I’m confident that they are letting them develop at the right pace, and this team should be stronger because of it.
I get the frustration with this management group, but I don’t think it’s been all that bad myself. The first rebuild under Jarmo was an expedited one because the team matured much faster than expected, and the ownership was hungry for some kind of success here. Had they gotten one or two more high draft picks, I think they could have established and sustained success for awhile. That success might have led to some of these guys sticking around, at which point we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
When Jarmo was hired, the best players in Columbus were Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky. The top prospects were Ryan Murray and Ryan Johansen; who, at their very best, were secondary pieces. The team that peaked in 2019 reflected that – though Jarmo added some significant pieces like Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Seth Jones, etc – the core guys that were here, the CBJ draft picks, were mostly blue collar/depth type players. No other GM in our brief history has built a roster quite like that 2019 team, and he did it with secondary assets. So for that reason, I think he deserves one more chance to build it from the ground up, the right way.
This time, he’s been collecting draft picks and early returns on them have been very positive. Let’s be patient and see this play out for another 2-3 years before we call for heads. One other thing we can’t overlook: all of the improvements going into the arena and fan experience. We can thank this management group for a lot of that, and ownership sees it as well.