Sometimes, you just have a hunch.
We're not saying Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen went with his gut feeling in making four pre-deadline trades, and electing to keep his two pending free agent superstars, Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.
But he has said many times that, despite perception to the contrary, he felt his team deserved a chance to both get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and make a run. Keeping his stars and adding to the mix was the best opportunity to do so, and though they gave up a handful of draft picks along the way, the organization feels confident about its young players coming up through the system.
After the Blue Jackets pulled off their stunning four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning, TSN's hockey panel featuring insider Bob McKenzie and former NHL executive Dave Poulin broke it all down. The main point of discussion? Kekalainen's strategy at the deadline, the depth it provided, and the shot of confidence it gave the Blue Jackets down the stretch and into the opening round.
"(Kekalainen) basically doubled down at the trade deadline, and brought in Matt Duchene, and brought in Ryan Dzingel – and those paid off across the board," said Poulin.
"All of the moves paid off. It took time, and a lot of the credit has to go to John Tortorella. "When things weren't going well, he stayed the course, (and) he almost willed that team into the playoffs."
The Blue Jackets begin their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Thursday night at TD Garden. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be carried by NBC Sports Network.
Video H/T to SpecmenceCBJ on YouTube