I don’t know if you guys have noticed because I’ve largely kept it to myself, but I’m very upset about how things have gone for the Blackhawks the past several years. Bottom of the standings, incompotent management, and an aging core. It’s not the best place to be, but it’s also not anywhere close to being the worst even if they are close to the bottom of the standings. Someone is always worse off than you are and that’s a great way to make yourself feel better about your own situation.
Looking around the NHL trade deadline rumors that are out there are two teams who decidedly much more FUCKED than the Blackhawks. It’s not the Florida Panthers or the Arizona Coyotes. They both have some young pieces to build around and are getting better even if they have zero fans. The two most fucked teams, in my humble expert opinion are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa, just like 20 months ago, were a team on the rise. Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone, Craig Anderson on that Tom Brady aging plan, and a bunch of young studs that were drafted and developed together got the Sens within one shot of the Stanley Cup Final. They decided to really go for it. Get over the hump. Get a new stadium funded. They traded for the best available player on the market, Matt Duchene. Then….Mike Hoffman’s CRAZY girlfriend cyber bullied Erik Karlsson’s pregnant fiance for months, the Karlsson’s found out it was her and the entire organization became a complete and utter dumpster fire. Dumpster fire gets over-used. This is more like the Centralia, PA coal mine fire.
I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the Centralia fire, but here’s the long and short of it. The town of Centralia has been burning uncontrollably since 1962. A strong working class town built around the mine accidentally caught fire at the city’s peak and…it’s been on fire ever since and it’s predicted to burn for another 250 years. They can’t put it out. That is actually the perfect analogy for the Sens.
That’s where Melnyk wants to build the new Stadium
Karlsson is gone. Their next two best players are Mark Stone and Matt Duchene…they are also free agents next year. Both are going to be traded
Hey Matt Duchene, is $8M enough to get you to play in a coal fire? No, okay well then you’re going to be traded right when the team has it’s least amount of leverage. Ditto for Mark Stone. It does seem like there’s more talk of him staying, but why wouldn’t he at least test the free agent market?
At least they have a chance at getting a top pick, right? WRONG. They dealt their #1 pick in this draft to the Avalanche as part of the Matt Duchene deal. The Senators are going to need to sit there and watch the Avs draft Jack Hughes right in their face and a week or so later Matt Duchene will walk out the door. Incredibly poor asset management.
And with all of that said…I think that the Senators are not quite as fucked as the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets have been seemingly building since they came into the NHL like 20 years ago. They’ve only made the playoffs four times in their entire history, but two of those appearances were the last two years. Still have yet to win a playoff series, but it feels like they’re close. They’ve got a true #1 type center for the first time in Pierre Luc Dubois, they’ve got a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate in Seth Jones, great leadership from Jenner and Foligno, a dynamic game-breaking weapon with Panarin, and a Vezina trophy winning goalie. The Jackets are knocking on the door. They should be buyers at the deadline. The problem is that the gamebreaking weapon and the Vezina goalie have already said they don’t want to talk extension or signing ever…. at all… so they’re FUCKED.
The Jackets, instead of being a force in the East and setting up to have real staying power for the first time ever, are effectively over a barrell. Who is going to pay a premium price for Panarin when you can just sign him as a UFA in the summer? Probably nobody. Ditto for Bob who has even less value because he’s a weirdo Russian having an awful season. Now the Jackets are faced with either biting the bullet and trying to get their two Russian to delay their defection or just ship them out now and tank the rest of the year. And you wonder why they’re still in the bottom third of the league in attendance. It’s because they’re impossible to love and they can never seem to get out of their own way. I personally would just say fuck it and try to win big THIS year knowing full well that they’re dead in the water in 2019-20 without Panarin or Bobrovsky. Give your fans SOMETHING and hopefully they buy their season tickets before they realize Panarin is gone back to Chicago.