5 Pressing tasks for Don Waddell as he takes over the Columbus Blue Jackets

Don Waddell was hired as president, GM and alternate governor of the Blue Jackets this week. He has a lot get done, with only about three months to do it.
2019 NHL Awards - Nominee Media Availability
2019 NHL Awards - Nominee Media Availability / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
5 of 5

5. Getting Patrik Laine back on track...

Patrik Laine has been out of the Blue Jackets lineup since December 14th. An early season concussion, followed up by a broken clavicle; ultimately turned into a stint with the NHLPA's Players Assistance Program.

All of this combined into a lost season for the Finnish sniper.

This situation is something I've thought about quite a bit since Laine entered the program in January. Trading him now doesn't make sense - it would be selling really low on a very high end asset.

The one exception here would be Laine coming to the team and asking to be traded. If that's the case, the Jackets should absolutely do the right thing for the player. His health and future are what matters most, full stop.

However, if Laine still wants to play in Columbus, the first step has to be keeping him healthy. There aren't ways to prevent the opposition throwing dirty hits. Or an unfortunate tumble into the end boards.

But, one thing they can do that would absolutely help him, would be putting him back into the correct role.

Look, Patrik Laine isn't your #1 center. Sorry Pascal, that's just not going to happen. Laine isn't going to be your #2, or #3, or - dare I say it based on his ice time for a few games - your #4 center, either.

Put the big man back on the wing. Give him his own line, with players who can get him the puck with time and space. And for the love of all things, let him use that patented one-timer. That's what made him the #2 overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

I don't care if he's not great defensively. I don't care if he isn't physical. I just want to see him score 40-50 goals, which we all know he's capable of doing. You can get that out of him by giving him smarter minutes, on a line that isn't the top line (Johnny Gaudreau's line can handle the heavy matchups).

This is the key to fixing that whole situation, in my opinion. It's an easy fix if approached intelligently. Quit trying to jam a round peg into the square hole.

Don Waddell may not need to do much to fix the Blue Jackets. But, these situations all need to be dealt with in some way this summer. Even if the outcome is no major change - we need to have some kind of direction here.

Otherwise, we'll be in for another long season next year.