Before the NHL Draft got under way, Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said he was interested in moving down from the No. 2 overall pick in the draft if the price is right.
Judging by this reported offer that came Columbus' way via the New York Islanders, I can't imagine what that price would have been. Because this offer, if correct, is absurd.
From Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:
Wait, WHAT?!? The Islanders were going to give up their entire draft to move up two spots to get Murray even though the draft was chock full of top defensive prospects? Garth Snow, I'm not sure what you're thinking. But luckily for you, you actually don't look like the worst guy in this reported offer.
How could Howson, who is in the process of rebuilding a franchise, not take this deal? You would have still been able to select an elite player at No. 4 and then would have had the rest of the draft to find a few more quality players.
We all know the draft is a crapshoot. The cliché pops up every year at this time for a reason: it's true. So simple logic stands to reason that if you double the amount of picks you have, you double the chances of finding good players. It's not rocket science. Sure, they won't all pan out and there's no guarantee any of them will pan out, but the odds are great. And the only sacrifice was moving two picks down and exchanging Murray for another top defenseman, perhaps the Islanders' selection of Griffin Reinhart? I don't get it.
For example, Dale Tallon arrived in Florida two years ago and immediately began stockpiling draft picks. He got rid of anybody he could receive draft picks for and now two years later he has what is regarded by most as the best farm system in hockey.
All I can say now is to simply point out that this is why the Blue Jackets are the Blue Jackets and the Islanders are the Islanders. Really, Howson was just offered Manhattan for $24 and said no.
Here is where the skeptic in me comes out. My initial reaction when I saw this was no way could it be true. Portzline is an excellent reporter and is always in the know when it comes to the Jackets, but there is absolutely no way this could be true.
But then you see Howson's only response when asked by Portzline was "no comment." Taking the Fifth, I know, but it does seem damning. Add to it the fact that the Islanders obviously were looking for defensive impact judging by the fact that they only selected defensemen this weekend. You can also add in the fact that the Jackets actually fired four scouts just after the draft, so that would indicate Howson didn't like the intel his staff had been gathering and thus wasn't prepared for twice as many picks.
I also remembered it is Howson and Snow we're talking about. Not to say I would be better as a GM, surely I wouldn't come close, but this is a deal that EA Sports wouldn't even let you reject. It would literally not be an option, it was such an overwhelming deal.
Finally, the CBC's Elliotte Friedman confirmed the Portzline report and he's another guy who is certainly in the know around hockey.