Oilers and Blue Jackets Are In Desperate Need of Help!

John SzurlejAnalyst IDecember 29, 2009

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 26:  Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets looks back after making a save off a shot by Alexandre Picard #45 of the Ottawa Senators in a game at Scotiabank Place on November 26, 2009 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

Take a look around the NHL and you can see the teams that are contenders, pretenders, and then the teams that are stuck in no man's land. 

Those teams in the latter are teams that could genuinely make a run at a playoff spot if they get smart at the trade deadline and the key to that starts in the crease.

Teams like Columbus and Edmonton are the starting point. With Columbus' dismal tandem of Mason (11-13-5, 3.27 GAA) and Garon ( 4-5-2, 2.89 GAA), an argument can be made to simply commit to whom gives you a better chance at winning, or bring someone in who can.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock, has done more damage than both of his netminders to date by relying on Mason to find himself and return to his former self.

Sophomore slump aside, the fact remains that Mason is simply not adjusting well and overplaying too many pucks. The unfortunate thing for Garon is when he's in, his defense takes the night off. 

Either way, something has to give, and the latest Hitchcock revolving door policy isn't the answer. A good fit for the Blue Jackets could be the likes of Montreal's, Jaroslav Halak. 

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Halak, (10-6-0, 2.56 GAA) could be a possibility since the Habs' net-minder has been vocal on lack of playing time and the ambition to be a starter for an NHL team. Through his agent these desires were expressed and since that time Halak has gone 4-1, with a 1.48 GAA. 

Halak shows the poise, the ability, and he has the desire to play hard which is something absent in the Columbus tandem.

The Edmonton Oilers received bad news regarding Nikolai Khabibulin's return when it was revealed the veteran net-minder would likely need season ending surgery to correct his ailing back.

At this point, the Oilers have Jeff Deslauriers ( 8-10-2, 2.94 GAA) handling starter duties and an unproven backup, or, fresh meat for the NHL to feast upon depending on how you look at it. 

Regardless of JD having NHL experience, this is another team that can win, but without a solid net-minder to rely on, they should be looking at next year's draft picks.

A possible fit here could be Atlanta's Johan Hedberg ( 9-6-1, 2.47 GAA), since the Atlanta Thrashers seem content in waiting for Kari Lehtonen recover from back surgery and seem to be committed to giving Ondrej Pavelec the bulk of the duties in Atlanta.

Hedberg has played solidly for the Thrashers despite their problems on defense and gives them a chance to win each night he plays. He deserves to be the official starter for the Thrashers, but another coaching faux pas of uncertainty seems to be dooming this franchise as well.

Either way you dissect these situations, the common ground of inconsistency is what's plaguing these teams whom otherwise may have factored into the playoff picture significantly.

There are teams who make moves, teams that stay put, and teams that wait and see. At this point Edmonton and Columbus are two teams that can't choose curtain number three and need to make a move now.

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