The Columbus Blue Jackets have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After loading up at the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets barley scraped into the playoffs. They came in hot and swept the Lightning. They put up a good fight against the Bruins but in the end, the Bruins won it out.
Now that their season has ended, they’ve got a lot to look at in the off season. The biggest problem that everyone is looking at is the upcoming UFA’s.
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen already gave his comment regarding the Pending UFAs, saying:
“We have a good team, we have a great city, we have great ownership. I think that should convince anybody to want to stay… we have a winning team and I think we could really build something here. And if that’s not enough, then I don’t know…”
But some pending UFAs have already been clear that their tour in Columbus is over. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky have said that they have major interest in leaving Columbus but have said so in as many words. We talked back in January about the Russians being on the move so it’ll be no surprise that those two take off.
Without Panarin and Bobrovsky, there are 4 remaining UFAs. You’ve got Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid, and Keith Kinkaid. Keeping all of these players would be in the better interest for Columbus.
Matt Duchene can put up big numbers. He’s got the ability to be a franchise player and if Panarin leaves, you’ll be needed someone as offensively talented to fill that gap. Dzingel can step up with 12 points in 21 games. That duo should be a priority for Columbus to secure in this off season.
Adam McQuaid did a bit for Columbus in the small amount of time he was there. He’s more important for game play rather than the score sheet. For him to stay or go is up in the air for me.
Keith Kinkaid should be resigned if Bobrovsky heads out. His experience on the ice will come in handy since Columbus could use their top goaltender. If Bobrovsky stays, Kinkaid could stay or go.
Featured Image: TSN.ca