We've heard it all before.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are, yet again, one of the youngest teams in the NHL - a fact that has become a near annoyance to the fan base. It's seemed like they've been one of the youngest teams in the league since their inaugural season in 2000-2001.
Yes, it can be slighting to hear that footnote time after time. It can make one question the front office's direction of the club. Also - who cares? Well, I think it's important to know that this time, of all the times that the Blue Jackets have been young, is the best time for them to be young.
The primary reason is that the team is not in the position yet of being a championship contender, or even in the position to break into the second round of the playoffs. They are a fringe playoff team, who might be able to stir the pot in round one if they are fully healthy.
This means that they don't have to worry about offloading young talent just to load up with veterans for a deep playoff push. They can just let their young talent and core group grow. As we've seen from this year, too, letting the young kids play has been monumental for the team.
They were fairly young last season still, but now they're the second youngest club in the league. For a team that, again, is not in a position to tank but also not ready for a Stanley Cup championship push, this is a fun spot to be in. And a healthy spot for the front office - who can build a foundation rather than grab bad contracts to help for playoff pushes (Sergei Fedorov, Adam Foote, Thomas Vanek, David Clarkson, etc.)
I suppose the point I'd like to drive home is that we don't need to get frustrated every time we hear someone say how young the Blue Jackets are. It is a really, really good thing given their circumstances. We should be glad they're not like the Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings (28th and 31st youngest teams in the league).
Of course, at some point, we will want them to do something with this youth. Moral victories for being young don't hang in the rafters. But that's later. This is now. Let's enjoy the youth that is now.
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