Are they better?
No, of course not. How could they be? They’re losing about 100 goals worth in forwards departed and one of the better (albeit fading quality) goalies of the last twenty years. This is not one of those additions by subtraction scenarios.
This looks like a year in which the Blue Jackets are playing somewhere in the bottom half of the conference, and I can’t see a situation where they don’t finish last in the Metro division. The Rangers improved, as did the Devils through draft luck and some savvy trades.
You can argue that Philly is still overrated and that the Penguins got worse, but the Isles, Hurricanes and Caps all stayed the same or got better. That’s not good for the Blue Jackets’ chances at success.
But here’s the real concern for those within the CBJ circles – this isn’t a rebuild. A rebuild has a plan to build through the prospect pool and draft. Having given up two prospects and six top picks puts a huge hole in your long-term plans to build from within.
Fun fact – the Blue Jackets have the 27th ranked farm system in the NHL. Out of 31 teams. (Isles sit at 17th)
I don’t envy the CBJ faithful, and with just an average team on the NHL roster, minimal draft capital moving forward and a bottom-rung farm system of prospects the present and future looks rather bleak.
But they’ll always have that sweep of the Lightning to remember fondly in the past.