First, the Blue Jackets avoided the mistake of trading away the second pick in the draft and took defenseman Ryan Murray from the Everett Silvertips on the first day.
Murray, 6’1" 197 lbs., was the premier blueliner the draft had to offer by all accounts, and, according to the folks in Columbus, is NHL ready.
Next, and as important, Howson traded the second- and fourth-round picks in this year’s draft along with the fourth-round selection next year to the Philadelphia Flyers for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky looks like a keeper.
Columbus identified the areas of greatest need and attacked the draft weekend.
Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch noted on Sunday that, while Bobrovsky was less than spectacular during the 2011-12 season, he finished seventh in the Calder Trophy voting the prior year, allowing 2.59 goals-against while finishing 28-13-8.
While the NHL draft is about prospects and potential, Bobrovsky has a track record that can be built upon.
Was it smart to trade three picks for Bobrovsky?
Howson noted that Bobrovsky’s numbers last year were “not great” but that during stretches last year, he outperformed the Flyers’ starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
The NHL draft this year was fairly light on goaltenders, so the Columbus GM had to get creative.
When Howson took Murray and followed that up with the trade for Bobrovsky, he signaled that the Blue Jackets mean to get better through defense.
To be sure, goals need to be scored to win hockey games, but they have to be stopped as well.
Remember, the Blue Jackets gave up the third-most goals in the NHL and the most in the Western Conference last season.
Contrary to what some may think, defense wins hockey games, and Howson seems to be preparing Columbus for an extended run of relevance.
The Blue Jackets became considerably better over the course of the weekend.