The Blue Jackets are losing recently and that is okay

For a brief moment, I thought we were in trouble.

Butch Cassidy’s final words to the Sundance Kid. The two wild west outlaws being taken to task after a string of train robberies – speaking those words as they ran into gun and cannon fire ultimately meeting their demise.

Columbus Blue Jackets fans understand that cannon fire is a different word. The quote, too, should mean something different to the hearts of the Blue Jackets – particularly as projected three to five years from now when looking back on the current state of the Ohioan hockey team.

This is an ode for you, the Blue Jacket fan in panic. It’s a reminder that the trouble in this team right now, is not only okay but a sign of better things to come.

This is what was expected

This was not supposed be a good year. Let’s remember that.

As they looked ahead to the season, both fans and pundits were optimistic about the Blue Jackets season. A little optimism that the new version could be great, but with the understanding that it could fall apart at any time. And just like in that franchise’s sequel trilogy, this Blue Jackets season has shown some promise early on and has now started to completely unravel.

Related: Blue Jackets showing alarming trend of blowing big leads

Columbus started the season with a record 12-6 record. They were also in the playoff spots months later. This start set high expectations for the fans. Four straight playoff berths were achieved from 2016 to 2020. Anything less is a loss for a team that once believed just getting into the playoffs was a victory. Then, a skid beganThey lost their three most recent games in 2021 and three of their three first three games in 2022, respectively, in dramatic fashion.

The marketing principle of an anchor price is one that you’re very familiar with, even if you don’t know it. It is a marketing principle that makes any price tag seem better by lowering it. A jersey that is regularly $200 but sold at $150 will be much more appealing to purchase than a jersey that is regularly $150. This season’s perception will also be affected.

In this situation, the Blue Jackets’ strong start to the season may have anchored your opinion to believe that this team was a little more primed for success than it really is. The team is back on Earth and many fans panic about their team’s future. Had the Blue Jackets arrived at their current record, at just under a .500 points percentage in a more consistent way, it is fair to argue that the “worry” experienced by the fanbase would not be as prolific. If the drop-off is causing you to lose sleep at night, try and remind yourself that if you would have heard this would be the current record when you were in September it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

It Lets Blue Jackets’ Brass Make Decisions

Knowing this team isn’t a playoff team earlier on may be a blessing in disguise. Jarmo Kekalainen, the Blue Jackets general manger, will base his decisions about the future of Ohio hockey on the performance of his players. The most prominent example is the decision not to sell Sergei Bobrovsky or Artemi Panarin at the 2019 trade deadline, and instead go out and buy the biggest piece on the trade market in Matt Duchene – eventually losing all three players for nothing in free agency. Now he’s got an idea where this season is headed.

Jarmo Kekäläinen, Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager at 2015 NHL Draft
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

Kekalainen might have considered keeping his trade chips if Columbus had maintained their solid start and secured a wildcard spot. Although there are no guarantees that expiring players will be retained or traded as they have not performed well, team performance is deteriorating and it is becoming more difficult to obtain future assets.

The deadline will see the arrival of Joonas Korpisalo (1B goaltender), Max Domi (2B skill forward), and a few other depth players who might be worth a lot. Have a look at Kekalainen’s track record and try to find a time when he didn’t maximize the return on assets to push the Blue Jackets towards their ultimate seasonal goal.

Blue Jackets are in for greener pastures

Don’t forget the peril that was the Blue Jackets 2020-21 season. There is no other way than up from that year. The Jackets were dull. The big names weren’t clicking. The coaching was tired. The team was in desperate straits.

The times have changed. There is more excitement in the team. The big names are executing more often. There’s a A new captain is in town. The coaching staff was replaced. They’re bringing A new style of hockeyThe tenacious, blue collar, Columbus identity. The new core looking to be built around dynamic, offensive talents – think Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, and Adam Boqvist – is in stark contrast to their tradition of building around more two-way talents – think Nick Foligno, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and David Savard.

The Blue Jackets have two first-round picks for the skilled 2022 NHL Draft. Each currently slated to be among the top-10 should net them two more top talent to accelerate the build. These unnamed talents will be added to the Blue Jackets talent pool, creating the new core team.

So far the new core is headlined by the following players – all on the roster and still under 25 years old: Werenski; Laine; Boqvist; Alexandre Texier; Cole Sillinger; Yegor Chinakhov; Jack Roslovic; and Daniil Tarasov. That’s not even mentioning non-roster players like: Russia’s Kirill Marchenko and Dmitri Voronkov; late first-rounder Corson Ceulemans; and fifth-overall pick and potential Canadian Olympian Kent Johnson – who is widely considered the organization’s most exciting prospect.

If that’s the core of the Blue Jackets moving forward, you as a panicked Blue Jacket fan should be able to rest easy. They may be in trouble for a moment. But, they should know that this moment of pain is temporary and will pass quickly. They are on the road to better and bigger things.