Jackets Lose, Lose Jones Indefinitely
The Jackets 10-game point streak came to a halt in Nationwide Arena on Saturday. So did Seth Jones' season. An undisclosed ankle injury didn't keep him out of the game, or off the score sheet on Saturday. But, it seems, the injury is more serious and has landed him on the IR.
His presence will be missed, but, if any team in the NHL could withstand losing a top line defender it is the CBJ. This will draw Scott Harrington back into the line up and Carlsson back up to Columbus.
The six d-men in the line up will read something like this:
Werenski - Gavrikov
Nutivaara - Savard
Peeke - Harrington
Carlsson as the extra.
Murray, Kukan and Jones on IR.
Now the abundance of riches on the blue line can pay off.
Scoring Still an Issue
The Jackets have played 5 games in February (3-1-1) and scored just 9 goals. Their record over those games has overshadowed this lack of scoring. If you remove 2 empty net goals, the CBJ are averaging 1.4 goals per game. Four of those 7 goals were scored by Columbus defensmen. I beat the drum once more. Columbus needs a forward that is a threat to score.
Enter HockeyBuzz.com commenter GPerogie to offer up Jake Voracek. This is an interesting idea. While starting his career in the Union Blue, Jake spent his formative years in the City of Brotherly Love. There were only 2 seasons (out of 8 in PHI) that he failed to reach the 20-goal mark and 2 seasons were he fell below the 50-point line. This season his goal scoring is down (11), but he has 31 assists. His 42 points would tie him for the team lead with PLD if he were to join the CBJ. While he gets paid $8.25M, Columbus has cap space. As a bonus he is signed through 2024. There are two downsides, 1) he is 30 years old, his best seasons are likely behind him and 2) what would the Jackets have to give up to get him.
The Flyers are not exactly out of the playoff race at this point either. They are 2 points behind Columbus with a game in hand. Voracek is not exactly a guy you would expect to 'be on the block'. Columbus would have to make an offer including NHL ready talent and futures. Trading in the same conference is tricky, within the same division is downright unheard of, especially mid-season.
While this isn't likely to happen, Jarmo could offer Anderson for Voracek in a straight up one-for-one deal.
CBJ scoring could be aided soon by the return of Anderson and Texier. That is like picking up scorers at the deadline, right?
Tampa Comes to Town
The last time Columbus faced the Lightning they shocked the hockey world. That is likely at the front of TBL player's minds as they enter NWA tonight. While it is only a regular season game, I'm sure they are hellbent on exacting some revenge. Being Jones' first game out of the line up, it could turn into a bloodbath. The Jackets are really going to have to defend as a unit to keep this one close tonight.
Good Luck and Go Jackets!