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As improbable Kings run continues, Blue Jackets grit their teeth

May 8, 2012, 6:25 PM EDT

johnson carter

Interesting observation from Michael Arace of The Columbus Dispatch:

In February, four days before the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets shipped disgruntled sniper Jeff Carter to the Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round draft pick. It was one deal the Jackets managed to get right. Johnson is a horse, looks a lot like the next captain and has been starring for Team USA at the world championships.

The first-round pick was a beefy bonus in the deal. The condition is the rub.

After Los Angeles rallied to make the playoffs, Columbus was in good shape. Once L.A. was eliminated by the top-seeded Canucks, Columbus would’ve (theoretically) received a pick in the mid-to-high teens.

When that didn’t happen, the BJs still had to feel OK. All they needed was for the second-seeded Blues to do the business and they’d be all right.

But when that didn’t happen? Take it away, Arace:

Had Hitchcock eliminated the Kings, the pick the Kings likely would have sent to the Jackets would have been No. 17 overall. Los Angeles, the No. 8 seed, has shocked its way to the Western Conference finals. In Columbus, a worst-case scenario has played out.

The pick the Jackets would get for Carter is now in the range of No. 27 to No. 30 overall. Given that, the likelihood increases that general manager Scott Howson will exercise his option and wait a year to take the pick.


That said, losing out on a high pick might not be such a bad thing. Based on past drafts (Pascale Leclaire, Nikolai Zherdev, Alex Picard and Nikita Filatov), there’s a pretty good chance Columbus would’ve messed it up anyway.

  1. DTF31 - May 8, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    They traded Klesla for Upshall, all like 18 games of him, too.

    • rosselliott - May 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Upshall AND Sami Lepisto… The Coyotes had to swap even money to make the trade happen, up against their NHL mandated budget. But yes, the Coyotes got the better end of the deal, even if it did free up some money for the Blue Jackets beyond just last year.

  2. rosselliott - May 8, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Research is key here… Here is the “condition” on the conditional pick. If the Kings miss the playoffs, the pick will be in 2013. Otherwise, the Blue Jackets can choose if it’s in 2012 or 2013.

    In other words, it’s extremely likely that the Blue Jackets will waive this year’s pick and make it a 2013 pick. The BEST they can do is 27th this year and odds are high that the Kings won’t do as well next year (not a knock against the Kings, it’s just statistically a stretch these days…)

    • Mike Halford - May 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

      Right, but I think the point was that Columbus was in good shape for a solid 2012 pick…before the Kings went on their magical run.

      • rosselliott - May 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM

        I’ll agree with that statement. I think the Blue Jackets would’ve taken this year’s pick based on the projection that the Kings would do better in the standings next year. The article implies that they don’t have the choice, though. Of course, no guarantee next year’s pick will be any better in terms of draft number, either.

      • blomfeld - May 8, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        it’s not magic friend … it’s called conviction or “fate” if you will …

  3. quizguy66 - May 8, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    This story reminds me of the fact that the Devils have their own option they have to exercise. Because of the whole Kovalchuk-signing penalty the Devils must forfeit one of their 1st round picks in 2012, 2013, or 2014 (they kept their pick in ’11). Given that the highest the pick will be is 27th, you have to figure that they’ll do it this year – though they are pretty light on picks for this season already.

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