The deal finally struck. After awaking this morning after horribly interrupted sleep (thank you dog + thunderstorm/windstorm) I found myself overly anxious and a bit irritable that trades were not falling by 10am. In fact, by twelve, I was eagerly hunting for additional twitter followers for some sort of unlikely inside scoop on ANYTHING trade relevant.
…And then it happened. Scott Howson, very much in Scott Howson form, made a deal out of left field, trading players who arguably were not talked about in any form previous to today, from a team claiming that they would not be making additional deals moving into the deadline.
This deal marks the end of an era for the Blue Jackets, and while I have been openly elated about the trade, I do think it’s a good time to acknowledge Rusty for what he has done for the franchise. At the start of every year, I helplessly hoped that he would find success without finding the IR, and again, my hopes were brutally shattered.
Sami Lepisto will be a 26 year old RFA this summer. He is not the powerplay QB this team arguably needs, but he has been fairly solid for the Coyotes. He has 4 goals and 7 assists in 51 games and is a +7 while averaging over 16 minutes a game. While he won’t make incredible waves in the defensive core, he will most definitely force the competitive nature in the six active players.
Scottie Upshall is a 27 year old upcoming UFA this summer. He is a hard working 2nd/3rd liner with 16 goals and 11 assists in 61 games with Phoenix this year. He is averaging just over 13 minutes a game, leading me to believe that he could be a flexible 2nd/3rd liner for Columbus depending on injuries.
At this point I am going to call this trade a huge win for Columbus. Klesla was a great potential talent, but truly struggled to stay healthy. Lepisto is an RFA who will bring some depth to the Columbus blueline, and Upshall will bring speed and grit that seems to be lacking in the offensive depth of the Jackets roster.
Go Scott Howson. Some people may think he is inept, but I think he continues to make the deals necessary to bring this team into the playoffs for a long time.
Carry the Flag!