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Rick Nash was a cancer.
Not necessarily because he wasn't a good player, but because he represented everything that the Blue Jackets needed to leave behind. Unfulfilled promise. Lack of anything resembling clutch performances. No toughness. No determination. No will.
In ditching Nash for Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus has a chance to acquire a new identity in full.
Everyone knows what Dubinsky brings to the table. Anyone expecting him to come in and pick up the offensive slack that Nash leaves is going to be sadly disappointed. Anyone expecting to see way more attitude, shot blocking, diving plays, sticking up for teammates and last ditch efforts will not be.
Dubinsky is the perfect piece to the puzzle that Howson has been assembling over the last 14 months or so. He has the attitude that is needed to turn things around in Columbus.
When the team signed James Wisniewski last summer, they were adding an offensive blueliner with a serious chip on his shoulder. Expect him to rebound after an awful first season in Columbus. They also added bluechip defender Jack Johnson in a deal with the LA Kings. While the pair may leave a little to desire in their own end, they both understand and embrace their roles as leaders for the Jackets.
Something Nash never did.
Sergei Bobrovsky could be the number one netminder come October. That'd be terrifying to some teams, but he's a serious upgrade from the enigmatic, moody and awful Steve Mason. Plus he has a lot to prove. He has a chip on his shoulder.
Do you see a theme developing here?
Nick Foligno seems ready to be a part of the solution in Columbus. He's saying the right things in the media, and he isn't rejecting his trade to a Midwest hockey team like some other rich crybaby was at this same time last season.
Adrian Aucoin isn't the top-two pairing that he used to be, but he (also) brings a few pink slips of rejection to the table. More fuel to the fire that could be building up for this consistently disrespected, laughing stock of a franchise.
Ryan Murray will make the team out of training camp, and guys like Aucoin and Vinny Prospal will install the right attitudes about winning in him. As opposed to what would have happened last summer, where Murray would have come to camp and witnessed his Captain and All-Star winger moping and hoping for a trade.
Some teams may have room for an overpaid drama queen. The Blue Jackets aren't among them.