Columbus Blue Jackets offseason punch list: what's in store for the new GM?

The Blue Jackets are entering a pivotal offseason. They could either take more steps towards contention; or continue to load up for a (hopefully) brighter future.

Columbus Blue Jackets Media Day
Columbus Blue Jackets Media Day / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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This team needs to improve next season. There is no debating that. Another bottom-5 finish is unacceptable, so changes need to be made to the on-ice product.

Step 4: Overhauling the roster.

This is usually easier said than done. But, I don't think that's the case for the Blue Jackets. There is a lot to work with here.

I'm afraid that tinkering with the edges isn't going to be enough, though. Simply going out and adding one or two second pairing defensemen or a depth center, won't push this team up the standings next year.

One thing we can be almost certain of, with a new GM: someone that was viewed as really important to the last regime, may be seen as expendable now.

The old adage also applies: to get good players, you have to give up good players. The Jackets are loaded with young skill, especially on the wings. I think it's possible that they package some of these parts towards a major roster upgrade elsewhere.

Even though the league-wide salary cap is jumping up significantly this summer, there will still be teams looking to move out salary. The Jackets are in prime position to strike, with the way this roster is constructed.

Imagine the team packaging two or even three players from that RFA list, and think about what the return could be.

Or, perhaps the team could look to move on from a player like Patrik Laine. I love the big Finn, but things have been far from good for him with this team. Maybe a change of scenery could help both sides.

These are the kind of impact deals that could change the course of this franchise for years to come. It won't be easy. I'm sure there will be outcry from fans about losing their favorite player. Some will probably say we got fleeced right away.

But, it hasn't worked here for the last few years. Change is the only guarantee at this point. With the new GM rolling in this summer, the only question I have is: how deep do these changes go?

This team needs to get back to playing meaningful hockey soon, rather than later. Really tough decisions lie ahead, and that starts as soon as the final horn sounds on this season.

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