In less than one week after adding to the team; the Columbus Blue Jackets might have put a hurting on their playoff push. In the six-day span the Blue Jackets played four games, and in their last two, they got swept, falling victim to the Edmonton Oilers (4-0) and Winnipeg Jets (5-2).
This comes at a time where the Blue Jackets desperately need wins. These losses follow a week where the Blue Jackets loaded up for a playoff run. At the trade deadline, they acquired Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kinkaid, and Adam McQuaid to help bolster their lineup.
To this point, the Blue Jackets are 1-3 since the deadline, and more concerning is all of those games were played at home at Nationwide Arena.
The Road Gets Tougher
The Blue Jackets now embark on a stretch where they play seven of their next 10 on the road and in that stretch, they play both the Penguins and Bruins twice in addition to a Western Candian road trip.
The Blue Jackets needed to do better with their most recent homestand and they simply did not. And that could ultimately cost them a playoff spot. Surely four games are only about 4.8 percent of the season in the overall grand scheme of things. But the timing of their struggles really matter. And for Columbus, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Blue Jackets are two points out of a wild card slot and they have an uphill battle ahead of them. They are facing teams that also want to solidify their playoff spot. In addition to playing the Penguins twice and Bruins three times before the end of the season, they also play the Islanders twice. And the Canadiens and Predators once each.
That is the long way of saying that the schedule is stacked against them. And they are running out of time to get themselves into a playoff spot. You could argue that having so many games against your direct opponents, for a wild-card spot and division positioning is a good thing. But it is only good if you win. Which as of late, Columbus hasn’t been.
The ending of this season could ultimately have a huge impact on the Blue Jackets. If the Blue Jackets miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs it could lead to some serious backlash. Especially since you have no guarantee that Artemi Panarin will stay a member of the team past this season.
And Columbus gave up a lot of assets to acquire Duchene and Dzingel at the deadline. The ‘Jackets went all in on trying to compete instead of selling Panarin like they seemed prepared to do for much of the past month leading up to the deadline.
So my opinion is that if they don’t make the playoffs (in a deep Eastern Conference, not to say Columbus has it easy) it could have a very negative trickle down effect. Time will tell, but I surely would not want to be the GM if all of these trades end up proving to be for nothing.
In the end, the definition of success will be hard to define. In fact, the definition may still be four months out when July 1st rolls around. But an early indicator could be just five short weeks away. Time is ticking, and it could be franchise altering.
Kevin Gesterling is an NHL Contributor to Full Press Coverage you can follow him on Twitter at @KGesterling1