There are certainly some franchises around the NHL that are run more poorly than others, but there’s one that seems to be run far worse than the rest. On Sunday, that franchise had one of their most important young players publicly complain about his situation, which is far from ideal and one reason why I believe they’re the most poorly run team in the NHL.
Also, taking a look at the top trade chips for every team around the league.
All that and more in this Monday edition of Evan’s Daily.
Colorado Hockey Now
We took most of Sunday off in preparation for the rest of the bye week for the Avalanche, but will be back at it on Monday. I talked to quite a few players about the difference in travel from playing in the East compared to the West, and will have that up. There was belief we’d talk to Zach Parise Monday, but doesn’t sound like that will be happening. As for the rest of the week, look for…
- First Avalanche trade board
- Zach Parise film room (+)
- How Georgiev is managing the heavy workload
- Looking back at those off-season additions…
- and more
You can get a subscription to CHN+ for $29.99 a year with the code “evan10” and get access to the + content on every site in the network. In addition to the + content, everything will be ad-free, which is the biggest perk.
Most Poorly Run Franchise in the NHL
Make no mistake, there is competition for this title, as there are a few teams that seem like they’re going to be stuck in purgatory for a while, but to me, there’s one franchise that sticks out like a sore thumb right now, and it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets.
First of all, they’re a bad team, despite having some big contracts on their team. The last few summers, they spent a good chunk of change to bring in Johnny Gaudreau, Damon Severson, and Erik Gubrandson, and it’s gotten them nowhere. They traded for Ivan Provorov, who has shown he’s just not very good, and the Philadelphia Flyers have actually gotten better without him. All the additions on their blueline have blocked younger players from playing, including former top 10 pick, David Jiricek.
“I played good hockey in the NHL,” Jiricek told The Athletic Friday. “I’m an NHL player right now. That’s my opinion, that I should be in the NHL right now.
Jiricek’s last NHL game was Jan. 9, but he’s still been hanging around, just as a healthy scratch. Why scratch a 20 year old for an extended period of time? Beats me. The Blue Jackets have given him mixed signals, even telling him to “get a place” in Columbus earlier this season, only to keep sending him up and down between the AHL and NHL.
The thing is that this team stinks, and they should be committing to the future instead of messing around with their young players. Kent Johnson, another former top 10 pick, was sent to the AHL for a brief period earlier this season, and has taken a step back after a solid rookie year.
It all starts at the top. Jarmo Kekäläinen was a great scout, and helped find a ton of the young talent for the Ottawa Senators in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but I have no clue what he’s done to earn the amount of job security he’s had in Columbus. He’s been the GM for over a decade, and has one playoff series win to show for it. After the whole Mike Babcock debacle this summer, he should have been shown the door as well. You can’t screw up something that badly and survive.
I certainly wouldn’t trust him to make any big decisions for the franchise moving forward, and although they have some real talent (Fantilli is legit), I don’t see them turning it around any time soon.
A look at the top trade chips for each team in the NHL. For the Avalanche, they’ve got Bowen Byram, which makes sense. Byram has had an up and down year, and he’ll be the first to admit it. However, is that a move you make in-season? Seems like an off-season trade to me. The trade board will be up this week, but looking at Colorado’s trade chips is also something that will be up in the near future.
Around The League
Speaking of the Blue Jackets, Patrik Laine has stepped away from the team to enter the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. Wishing him the best as he receives care.
Patrik Laine on Instagram: pic.twitter.com/ZLj6DNQEm6
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 29, 2024
A few nights after losing to the Avalanche, the Kings lost (again) in St. Louis, and now you really have to wonder if they’ll make some changes. Suddenly, their playoff spot is in jeopardy.
National Hockey Now
Why the Penguins probably won’t rebuild.
Another NHL franchise in need of some guidance, how can the Sharks be competitive in the next 2-3 years?