If Marian Gaborik ends this season wearing the sweater of a team other than the Columbus Blue Jackets, he shouldn’t be surprised.
After all, it was made clear from the start that this campaign would serve as an audition for the veteran sniper, who was acquired by the Jackets from the New York Rangers ahead of last year’s trade deadline.
“We want to get more familiar with him, get to know him better,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen during the summer. “Sure, we’re thinking about [an extension] already, but we’re going to let it go into the season, hope to see him score a lot of goals for us and then talk about getting him extended.”
So far there haven’t been a lot of goals, or much of anything else, from the impending free agent. In fact, it’s looking less likely that an extension to his current deal will be a priority for the Jackets . . . and that trading the 31-year-old before he gets to free agency this summer will.
A rash move by a team struggling out of the gate? Not exactly. Sure, it wasn’t that long ago that Gaborik was a legitimate impact player. He was full value for the Rangers in 2011-12, scoring 41 goals and 76 points while skating in all 82 games. But he wasn’t as effective last season, either before or after the trade to the Jackets.