It's a question that has two very different answers, and neither one is explicitly wrong.
Should the Columbus Blue Jackets tank?
It's a question that's likely answered by the head-or-heart thinking process. For someone who is going to always root for their team to win - in this case, the heart-thinker - the answer is no!
For those who want their team to be in the best position possible moving forward, the answer is a resounding yes.
So, pending an abrupt turnaround, how should Blue Jackets management approach the coming weeks? Here's the case for each:
TANK, TANK, TANK!
There are two types of tanking; one is the obvious tank, getting rid of everyone and starting completely fresh. The other is "seeing what you've got" with certain players, developing them on-the-fly, and sorting out just who is going to be a part of the future. If Columbus is going to tank, it needs to be with Method B. Let guys like Kevin Stenlund and Alexandre Texier really flourish. Dip into the Cleveland Monsters to see what a guy like Trey Fix-Wolansky can do offensively, or see if defenseman Jake Christiansen shows promise. Liam Foudy looked great last season, but seemed overwhelmed at times this season in limited action. Which one is the real Foudy? This is one way to find out.
If it works out, great. If it doesn't, then it still works out because the fewer points the Blue Jackets have at the end of the season, the better position they'll be in for a higher draft pick. Nothing is guaranteed, but if they really are deadline sellers and continue to slide, there is a chance they could get a top five (or so) pick in the draft. It's a d-heavy draft at the top, but there are a couple of playmaking centers that could make a near-immediate impact.
This has been a tough season for the Blue Jackets; and with guys like Seth Jones, Max Domi, and the newly-acquired Patrik Laine all eligible to become unrestricted free agents at the end of next season, every game is pivotal in showing this trio that the Blue Jackets are committed to winning now. Domi has struggled, but there is still a firm belief within the Jackets' organization that he's a long-term, quality center for the team. Winning games late in the season can send a strong message to the team that their core group does have what it takes.
There's also something to be said about sending a message to the fans - especially as fans slowly make their back to hockey games. A lack of commitment to winning about a decade ago led to decreased attendance and even some protests outside of Nationwide Arena. That's not an avenue this franchise wants or needs to go down again, financially or otherwise.
Don't forget that head coach John Tortorella is in the last year of his contract, too. If this is in fact his last season behind the Columbus bench, a strong finish to the season may make all the difference in who the next leader of the team is.
What do you think: tank, "kind of" tank, or don't tank? Share your opinions in the comments!