EDITOR'S NOTE: You've arrived at the CBJ Power Rankings, our weekly breakdown of the top-five players, statistics, trends and many other Blue Jackets-related categories. If you're looking for the traditional power rankings, you've come to the wrong place. We'll go in-depth and outside the box, and hopefully give you something to think about.
Every organization breaks training camp at the end of September feeling pretty good about the team they've assembled. They've done their scouting, they've made the smart signings in that summer's free agent pool, and they've built a roster they feel is ready to compete for a Stanley Cup. But whether it's at the trade deadline or even a few weeks into the season, the front office will often find an area or two on the team that requires a boost.
That's what the Blue Jackets did on Saturday when injuries to Fedor Tyutin and Ryan Murray led general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to bring in veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold. The Blue Jackets hope that Leopold can add some experienced leadership to a young dressing room, not to mention a strong defensive game. The Jackets have pulled the trigger on a handful of mid-season moves in the past, and some of those reinforcements have gone on to have a very big impact. We've listed some of the best mid-season acquisitions in Blue Jackets history.
The Blue Jackets made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history at the end of the 2008-09 season. Big offensive years from Rick Nash and RJ Umberger were a big reason, not to mention a Calder Trophy campaign from goaltender Steve Mason. But another player who joined the Blue Jackets under-the-radar that season payed huge dividends in the end.
Center Jason Williams
was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers on Jan. 14, 2009 in exchange for Clay Wilson and a 6th-round draft pick. "It is not the type of trade that sets off alarms around the NHL," said Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch
at the time of the deal. "But if the addition of forward Jason Williams ignites a few more cannon blasts in Nationwide Arena after a Blue Jackets power-play goal, the deal might prove highly beneficial."
Williams lit more than just a few fuses; he scored 12 goals and registered 29 points for the Blue Jackets in just 39 games. The high point of his season came down the stretch in Columbus' final push to cement a playoff spot. Williams had a six game point streak (3-5-8) between March 24th and April 4th.
For whatever reasons, some trades bring together the right team with the right player at the right time. Those stars aligning made Williams' short stint in Columbus a special one, and one of the best in-season deals in Jackets history. However, it wasn't the only important forward the Blue Jackets brought on board for that postseason push...