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Gaborik, like Blue Jackets, enter show me season

Aug 25, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT

MarianGaborik

Marian Gaborik has maintained a trend of one good season followed by an off campaign since 2002-03. The Blue Jackets have to hope that continues after he scored just 12 goals and 27 points in 2013.

He’s one of the team’s bigger X-factors going into the season, but there are reasons to believe he will pay off for them beyond just a basic pattern. For one thing, Gaborik is a 31-year-old that’s fighting for what could be his last massive payday.

He has one season left on his five-year, $37.5 million deal and the Blue Jackets aren’t in a hurry to re-sign him. Although his potential alone will attract suitors to him regardless of what he does this season, a bounce back campaign might be the difference between a deal that carries him to his potential retirement and a one-year agreement so that he can get another chance to prove he’s worth the star-level contract that he likely wants.

The change of scenery should also help Gaborik, given the up-and-down relationship he seemed to have with former New York Rangers coach John Tortorella. Although Tortorella argued that the two had a “great relationship” and his firing meant that Gaborik would have ended up with a new bench boss either way, he did improve after being dealt to the Blue Jackets.

Gaborik had three goals, eight points, and a plus-five rating in 12 games with Columbus.

“What I found with him was because of his speed and his danger in the offensive zone, opponents cheat a little more toward him or they cheat a little bit back into their own zone,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards told NHL.com. “That creates more space for us, so we can play a better offensive game.”

His skill set will lead to him getting plenty of playing time with the Blue Jackets and if he performs as he has at his best, then he should be the team’s scoring leader.

  1. stakex - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    “the fact remains that he did improve after being dealt to the Blue Jackets.”

    Uhhhh no he didn’t? He had 9 goals in 35 games with the Rangers last year, and three goals in 12 games in Columbus. That’s virtually the same exact goal scoring pace with both teams. He was on a slightly higher pace with assists while in Columbus, but that could just have been an anomaly. Besides he’s a goal scorer, not a setup man, so he’s judge on goals… and he was no better in Columbus then with the Rangers last season.

    The notion that Torts had anything to do with Gaborik’s play always irked me. The guy is known to have been a streaky player to begin with, and despite his struggles last year… he had two of his top three seasons playing for the Rangers under Torts.

    • lordfletcher - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      seeing as his best days are probably behind him (40G / 40A) …. I don’t think it’s crazy to see gabby put up 30 / 30 in Columbus…. I wouldn’t doubt a player potentially going into his last contract year.

  2. ibieiniid - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    ah the eternal question… which comes last? one good season followed by an off campaign, or an off campaign followed by a good season.

  3. stepanup - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    I wouldn’t bet against a big season from Gabby. Obvious talent with a financial motivation. At 31, age shouldn’t be a question this year.

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