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Plenty of reasons for Jackets fans to be optimistic

Oct 25, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT

John Davidson

John Davidson has a simple philosophy when it comes to building hockey teams.

“You build it one brick at a time. One brick at a time is the only way to go, and that’s what’s going to happen here,” he said upon being introduced as the new President of Hockey Operations for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“You can only build a franchise by doing it the right way. And if you do it one brick at a time, you’ll solidify your foundation. And once you get there, it should be a good club for a good length of time. And we’re committed to that. There’s no other way to go.”

It sounds easy, but such an approach takes patience. And in a market like Columbus that’s been starved for a winner, patience isn’t an easy sell. Thus, last summer’s wild spending spree that was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise.

We all know how that turned out.

Fortunately for Blue Jackets fans that had to suffer through the embarrassment that was the 2011-12 season, there are plenty of reasons for optimism as the club enters a new era:

—- The hiring of Davidson, an experienced executive that most recently led the turnaround of the St. Louis Blues. No organization can be successful without the right leader. And a guy like Davidson isn’t going to take a job unless he thinks he can win.

—- Youth. In the prospect department, there’s Ryan Murray (19), Ryan Johansen (20), Tim Erixon (21), David Savard (22), and Cam Atkinson (23). Even “veterans” like Artem Anisimov (24), Nick Foligno (24), Jack Johnson (25), Derick Brassard (25), Brandon Dubinsky (26), Nikita Nikitin (26), James Wisniewski (28), Fedor Tyutin (29), and RJ Umberger (30) aren’t old.

—- More youth on the way. Columbus has three first-round picks in the 2013 draft.

If Sergei Bobrovsky (also young at 24 years old) can give the Jackets some half-decent goaltending, there’s no reason they can’t compete for a playoff spot this season (assuming there’s a season).

Beyond that, making the playoffs should be the least of their aspirations.

Related: Davidson has “full authority and autonomy over the competition side” of Blue Jackets

  1. id4joey - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Give the runner a chance, but I must say I don’t understand this move. He’s been in hockey for a long long time and doesn’t have much to show for with respect to building a winner. If he can surround himself with hockey men stronger than him then he will improve his chances to succeed.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      I’m not sure if you noticed St. Louis’ season last year, where the Blues had 57 points in the year prior to Davidson joining in 2006 and they ended up competing for the President’s Trophy with 109 points. Sure, they haven’t had as much playoff success (winning just one series in that time) but he built a team that can compete.

      In the end, anything is better than what the Blue Jackets have been doing, which hasn’t done anything for them despite all their top draft picks.

  2. cannonblast14 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    “More youth on the way. Columbus has three first-round picks in the 2013 draft.”
    Perhaps the most important part of the article. Could be huge in such a strong draft.

    • danphipps01 - Oct 25, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Yep. This is a stacked draft if ever there was one. And if he actually gets to dictate who they pick instead of that hack Howson… well, things could get exciting in the next three years or so.

  3. dutchman1350 - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    With the CBJ being so awful last year, if there is no season, they could get the 1st pick, or 4 picks in the first 31…the next 12 months will dictate the next 10 years. Good luck JD.

  4. jmbates10 - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:52 AM

    Jackets will be a force in the league in three years….of course we need to hope there is a league to be a force in!!

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