As Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban gets traded to the New Jersey Devils, it shows that the Predators are willing to make a tough trade to clear out cap space. They're going to make a play to improve their forward core.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have stood pat. After an active trade deadline, they haven't done much to recoup assets. They know that they're going to lose the majority of the players that are unrestricted free agents. The question for fans and onlookers is what will the Blue Jackets do to keep up with the league/division?
The player that is undoubtedly at the top of Columbus' priority list is forward Matt Duchene. He is one of the top forward talents in this year's crop of players and could very well fetch one of the largest contracts of the entire offseason.
Columbus traded for him and now are in a fork in the road. As team's like the Predators clear cap space to chase after him, the Blue Jackets need to keep up to try and improve the team while simultaneously enticing the player.
Take into account the fact that the Predators also improved the Devils with the trade. It is a double whammy for the Blue Jackets.
If you're going to be part of that arm's race for Duchene, the aggressiveness in your offer should stand on its own. You can offer another year that no one else can. If you're going to let him go, while you do get to keep next year's first-round pick due to the conditions of the deal they made with the Ottawa Senators, it shouldn't mean inactivity.
There are glaring holes at forward for the Blue Jackets if they don't sign Duchene. Do you trust Alexander Wennberg to return to form to occupy the second line? Do you think Oliver Bjorkstrand can take up more ice and more scoring if/when Panarin leaves? Is Pierre-Luc Dubois the answer at first line center without a superstar winger?
The offseason can become silly season quickly, and taking advantage of those participating in it is a strategy by itself. How the local team approaches, it will affect the team significantly for years to come. Active or inactive, the Blue Jackets have a window that is opening up.
Are they going to allow it slam closed without even a whimper?
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