An Interview with Blue Jackets Insider Eric Smith

Todd CordellCorrespondent IJune 2, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 22:  Fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets wave flags prior to first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft outside of Nationwide Arena on June 22, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

First off, I would like to thank Eric Smith of FSN Ohio and Hockeybuzz.com for taking the time to do this article.

Q: What is the Blue Jackets biggest need heading into the draft?

A: More talent. Seems like a simple answer but it's the truth. The organization is not blessed with any position in the pipeline of prospects that is loaded with upper-end talent.

There are a lot of young defensemen that could be, but still not enough. If you press me to give you a single position, I would say a center with top-six abilities and then goaltender next.

Q: There is speculation that the Blue Jackets will trade the fourth overall pick, what have you heard?

A: I think most of it is speculation. The Kaberle wasn't even a rumor, it was a Toronto columnist speculating on what Brian Burke might do. If Howson was to trade the pick, it would have to be a center that can play on the top line.

That's why the Spezza rumor makes some sense but the money will be hard to make work.

Q: Which coach do you feel would be the best fit for the Blue Jackets?

A: You know if I pick the wrong one, I still have to cover the coach? Guy Boucher is the wild card. Is he the next Scotty Bowman or the next flop?

Scott Arniel gets little coverage, but he is impressive. Obviously, the Kevin Dineen/Blue Jacket connection is there as he was a former player here. Dineen is a very successful coach to boot.

Claude Noel is the only one I think would have a tough time having his style work long-term. That's why I will leave it to Scott Howson to make the big money decisions since he makes the big money.

Q: Last question, what can Blue Jackets fans expect from the super-talented, young gun Jakub Voracek next season?

A: With a new coach coming in that will be far more offensive-minded than Ken Hitchcock, no matter who they pick, will only raise his numbers. This will be his third year, and barring injury, he should put up 65 to 75 points.

Jake is an unbelievable passer and if they can get him to use his big body and drive to the net and then shoot more, he could turn into a 30 goal scorer that puts up over 80 points. What makes it even better is the kid works his butt off, does whatever the coach ask him to do even to his own personal numbers, and then does it all with a smile. Great kid!

This concludes my interview with Eric Smith, if you have any thoughts on this feel free to comment.

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This article can also be found at Sportsleak.com


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