The NHL trade deadline is one short weekend away, set for 3 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon. As of Friday morning, after falling to Philadelphia in overtime, the Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves clinging to a playoff spot after losing seven straight. With more man-games lost than any other team in the NHL (and counting!) dimming high postseason hopes, the Blue Jackets should make the trade deadline boring and skip it altogether.
In his excellent trade deadline primer on Wednesday, MrSwift13 explored the possibilities for general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. He could sell off Josh Anderson and/or David Savard, he could just mash on the gas and go for it à la 2019, or he could just stand pat.
The Jackets have had a LOT of time this year to get a look at players in their prospect pool, a look at both goaltenders, and try to figure out who can replace aging players (Nick Foligno, Riley Nash, etc) as those contracts expire in the next couple of years. As the team gets kind-of, sort-of healthy down the stretch, the Jackets can fit their young players back into the lineup and work with others who have earned more ice time (such as Kevin Stenlund, for example) and begin planning for what needs to address in the summer and how best to approach next season when the team is fully healthy.
We can all agree this has been a rollercoaster season already. A flat start, then a remarkable tear, now the current slump. Let’s all just chill, regroup for 2020 and let everyone else freak out about the deadline. Historically, Jarmo and this franchise doesn’t do much on the deadline anyway, preferring to pull off their big deals in the summer. But while everybody’s worried about what the CBJ should do, nobody talks about what you should do. So with the team theoretically (hopefully, in my opinion) sitting this one out, how are you gonna spend the deadline? I’ve come up with some ideas.
Play Trade Deadline Bingo
Look, you can (and most likely will) sit at work and refresh Twitter all day. Maybe that’s what you do regardless. With a dearth of Blue Jackets news, though, perhaps you aren’t as invested as you’ve been in previous years. Luckily, there’s a great way to pass the time—NHL Trade Deadline Bingo.
Sure, that link is from the 2017, but if there’s anything the NHL does really well, it’s progress at the speed of an ice floe. Almost every single box on there is still relevant in 2020—right down to the “expansion draft” mention. Last year, Columbus was the Metro team to make the “all-in” move, but this year the only place where the club will be “all-in” is the training room.
Remember your favorite deadline deals
Here’s an idea: Just spend the whole day re-enacting the Chris Farley show sketch with your friends. Do you remember where you were when the Blue Jackets traded Pascal Leclaire for Antoine Vermette? How about getting Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter? It’s fun to think back and reminisce on how excited you were. It’s less fun to then realize how profoundly wrong you were. Not necessarily about those deals, but definitely some others. How wildly misplaced your enthusiasm was. That’s life. Hey, there’s always 2019. Remember that? That was awesome.
Watch highlights of your favorite CBJ rentals
Several times over the course of their history, the Blue Jackets have traded for guys at the deadline in hopes they’d push them over the edge. They then parted ways after the season, never to play for the team again. Though they may not have worn the Union Blue for long, we can still remember the good times. How about Thomas Vanek’s hat trick?
There are three Sami Lepisto assists in this highlight reel:
Kyle Quincey was excited to be in Nationwide!
Make your own video game trades
NHL 20 is the only real video game in town these days. This year, EA Sports added a “Trade Finder” feature, where you can select a player and see what they’d fetch from other digital GMs. Sick of [too scared to name a player to trade because I don’t want to get yelled at]? Go ahead and put him on the block! Ship him to Ottawa and get Anthony Duclair back in the top six. It may not be real on the ice, but it can be real to you.
Scour the web for discounted merch
Sometimes the deadline means your favorite players are leaving the team, but you can commemorate the occasion by buying gear of players long gone. The Fanatics store currently sells CBJ shirts and jerseys from Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and even Ryan Johansen. As someone who bought a Marian Gaborik shirsey a few days before he was traded for Matt Frattin (and some picks), get those deals in when you can.
Those are just a few ways you can pass the time while clicking past the pop-ups on your bootleg Sportsnet stream and commenting on our open thread all day. If you have any other ideas, throw ‘em in the comments.