The Argument for and Against the Blue Jackets Tanking the Rest of the Season

As we approach the trade deadline, one big question arises. Should the Blue Jackets throw this season away and try to improve their draft lottery odds?

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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I'll start this article off with an obvious comment: this is a lost season for the Blue Jackets. They're likely to sell off a piece or two at the deadline, and they will miss the playoffs.

With that out of the way, this doesn't have to be a continuance of their losing tradition. It is possible to play well for the rest of this season, and have that structure carry over into next year.

This is the first part of the argument against tanking.

The players that are here, for the most part, are the guys who are going to be here next year and beyond. Notably, when this team should be improving and realistically making a push towards competing for greater goals.

The cold, hard, honest fact of the matter is that this team has improved this season. No, it's not as much of an improvement we wanted from them. But, after a 9-game losing streak in November, they have been playing better hockey.

They're on pace for roughly 69 points, which would be a 10-point improvement over last season. Does that signify enough growth, considering the way the roster was treated last summer? Hardly. But, they have certainly improved since October and November.

I came up with two more reasons this team should absolutely not tank.

First, look at the standings. The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks look like they may never win another hockey game. Each team has 37 points.

If they continue their points percentage through the end of this season, they'll only end up with 48-49 points, respectively. The Jackets (52 points) could lose every game from here on out, and still not have the best lottery odds.

And let's not forget about those odds. Even if you do finish with the worst record, you have a greater chance of not drafting first overall. That's the way the NHL Draft Lottery works.

We saw it last year first-hand, when the Jackets were jumped by Chicago and wound up drafting third overall. Nothing is guaranteed.

Now, the argument for tanking? Let's take a look.