Even though the Columbus Blue Jackets are moving to a new division next season, they'll run into a bunch of familiar faces, as Dan notes below.
1) Obviously Blue Jacket fans have to be excited about landing Marian Gaborik, but what about the pieces which went the other way in trade? How much will Brassard, Dorsett and Moore be missed?
DP: It's hard to say, exactly. The big piece from our perspective was John Moore. He has the physical tools to be an impact two-way defenseman. He can skate, he has a great passing instinct, but his positioning has been a bit suspect as he learns the NHL game. That said, that's the stuff you can teach. The physical tools that you can't teach are all there. Will he ultimately be missed? It's hard to say given the glut of young guys on the blueline that Columbus has: Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon, Cody Goloubef, Dalton Prout, and David Savard will all be in camp in the fall with a chance to make the NHL roster. And that goes with four guys we already have on contracts in Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Nikitin, Jack Johnson, and James Wisniewski. In other words, the future looks good on defense, for both the short and longer terms. Moore was dealt from that position of strength.
Brassard needed to move on. He wasn't going to be re-signed when his contact ends, and he seems to have hit his ceiling, at least in Columbus. He's a streaky player who shows flashes of being a good 2nd line center. He can make plays, he has a good shot that he often doesn't use enough, but he's also not going to be a two-way guy. With that said, it remains to be seen how long he can stay in John Tortorella's good graces. Brassard can be great, but he can also be maddening because he has the talent and just never seems to put it all together. That said, for this year alone the numbers between he and Gaborik are a push; but Gaborik's ceiling is so much higher.
2) How surprising is it that you took a guy in Gaborik who can contend for the Rocket Richard Trophy from a future division rival in the New York Rangers? How are Columbus fans looking forward to life in the New Atlantic?
DP: Well, those Jackets/Rangers games will certainly be interesting, considering each team can ice a lineup of five made up entirely of players that used to play on the other team. I found myself wondering how Rick Nash was feeling yesterday, considering he requested a trade to a team supposedly much better than Columbus, and now they're roughly the same team this season in terms of record and scoring. And then he gets to see three more guys he was trying to get away from. Add in that Philly now has Steve Mason, and these are strange times indeed for Columbus!
The other aspect of the New Atlantic is that now we're stuck getting lit up by Martin Erat over and over again. I think he has 53 points in 57 career games against the Jackets. So, there's that to look forward to. Thanks for that, David Poile.
3) First Rick Nash goes, and now Steve Mason. Has the culture of losing now been thoroughly uprooted, or are there some other long-time Blue Jackets who need to move on as well?
DP: I think that culture is gone enough that, even if there are hold-overs, it's getting stamped out for good. John Davidson won't let it creep back in, and the new-look dressing room has already shown this season that they're a different breed. And, to your specific question, there aren't really any long-time Blue Jackets anymore. Jared Boll is the only player left from the Doug MacLean era, and Fedor Tyutin and R.J. Umberger are the other longest-tenured guys; they came over prior to the '08-'09 season. The new leadership group (Vinny Prospal, Jack Johnson, Brandon Dubinsky, James Wisniewski) all came over within the last 18 months. Combine that with Davidson and a new GM, and this is a completely new organization and culture from top to bottom. And it's already showing itself to be taking root. That, alone, cranks up the optimism more than even this playoff-push can do.
Thanks to Dan for his feedback, and make sure to see the 3 Questions they posed to me over at The Cannon.