The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently in California, preparing for their matchup with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. However, one of the Blue Jackets may be catching an early flight home.
Frustrated defenseman Mike Commodore approached Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson and demanded a trade late last week. Commodore has been a frequent healthy scratch for coach Scott Arniel, and the 31-year-old Canadian is getting fed up.
If Commodore is a healthy scratch for the Blue Jackets against the Ducks on Friday, that will be the seventh time in the last eight games. On Tuesday, Commodore spoke to the media about the situation: "Arniel doesn't want to play me. Obviously, he doesn't want to play me. After wins, after losses it doesn't matter. Obviously, I'm the seventh guy in his mind."
When asked about Commodore's statements, coach Scott Arniel did not deny them: "I don't have him in our top six," Arniel said. "He feels he should be, which is why he asked for the trade. I understand that. This isn't personal. This has to do with hockey skills. How you play the game, how you are with your teammates, how you work off the ice. It's not personal. He's just not in our top six."
Unfortunately, the contract that Commodore currently has with Columbus will make it hard for the defenseman to be granted his request. Commodore is signed through the 2012-2013 season and most NHL teams will not be able to fit his $3.75 million under their salary cap. Yes, there are several teams that could use a shut down defenseman like Commodore, but he isn't helping his value much with his -8 plus/minus rating, which is second worst on the team behind Derek Dorsett.
Sources say that if the Blue Jackets cannot find an interested party, Commodore will most likely be placed on waivers. The Blue Jackets may also just send him back to Columbus while they finish their four game road trip.
This event comes at a time when Columbus was looking to add defenseman via trade, as their names had come up several times in the Francois Beauchemin saga. Even though reports are saying that the Blue Jackets are no longer looking to trade for Beauchemin, the Commodore situation may force Columbus to throw their hats back into the ring. The NHL has reported that Scott Howson has been the busiest general manager in pursuing a trade in recent days.
Not only is Howson looking to send his problems with Commodore to another team, but he is also looking to find the missing pieces to make the Blue Jackets a playoff contender. One of those pieces may be someone that can take some of the weight off of star Rick Nash's shoulders.
Whether or not Commodore gets his wish or not, look for Columbus to stay busy before the trade deadline.