In signing defenseman Mike Commodore to a five-year, $18.75 million deal, the Columbus Blue Jackets landed themselves a tough customer with whom fans fall in love with in every city he plays.
Never mind that the Jackets blueline currently features no one who scored more than 18 points this year; Commodore netted 14, so he’ll fit right in.
Ron Hainsey, in fact, had 32 points for the Jackets in 2007-08, but he’s a free agent and unlikely to return. With Adam Foote crowbarring his way out of town at the deadline, an already thin Columbus blueline looks downright piecemeal.
The Commodore signing must, for the sanity of Columbus fans, be the first of several moves to bolster the team’s defense. Commodore is a second-pairing rearguard at best and no one currently under contract with the Jackets screams ‘first pairing.’
Kris Russell can work a power play. O-K Tollefsen is a tough cookie. Jan Hejda and Rostislav Klesla are…uh, not overpaid and already have apartments in town.
Simply re-signing free agents Dick Tarnstrom and Duvie Westcott is not enough to get this team moving upwards in the standings. Wade Redden is still out there, so is Mark Streit. Give them lots of money and tell Streit he’ll never have to play forward again and maybe things will work out in Ohio.
Otherwise, pre-order your 2009 Rick Nash Team Canada World Championship jersey.