You might have noticed that the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired Marian Gaborik today. It was the shock move of the day for just about everyone, but did it really surprise Blues fans? With Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson at the helm, we all knew that the Jackets weren't going to be messing around today. Sure, they would get a big offensive player, make a splash...
Ok, the move surprised Blues fans. I really don't think that anyone expected the Jackets to land a superstar. An offensive threat? Sure. Marian Gaborik? No way. Gaborik has been in trouble in New York, with his production dropping off and demotion to the fourth line telling signs that something was wrong. Perhaps a break from being berated by his coach might light a fire under his tush.
So, in comparison, how'd the Blues do? Of course they didn't make a splash today; they just unloaded some extra weight by trading Wade Redden off to the Bruins. But the days before the deadline saw the culmination of Doug Armstrong's mission since the off-season: to acquire some strength on the left side of the defense. Jordan Leopold, paired with Kevin Shattenkirk, looked good on Monday night. Tomorrow night we will probably see Jay Bouwmeester paired with Alex Pietrangelo.
The Blues, unlike the Jackets, didn't have to give up roster players to beef up their current line-up. This is a plus for sure, though it's debatable how useful the roster players that were sent to the Rangers are. Also, on paper, the Blues have no need to strengthen their offense. Everyone that the Blues have, when healthy, is more than capable of contributing.
Let's admit this: fans wanted to see a trade not to add firepower necessarily, but to shake up a forward corps that has grown complacent and borderline apathetic at times. We wanted that jolt to increase the effort level of what we currently have, not necessarily a trade to add to it. The responsibility is now on the players, and they know that's the message Armstrong has sent.
The Blues' management did enough. Now it's time for the team to keep up their end of the deal. Better offense, goaltending playing like they're capable of - if that happens, fans won't even notice that a forward wasn't acquired.