By Stu Hackel
While everyone is talking playoff matchups and predicting the number of stitches that doctors will need to close the combined wounds of the Penguins and Flyers, there are 14 other clubs who are packing up for the summer and planning for next season. Here’s a roundup of the NHL’s also-rans and what might be in store for them during the offseason. We’ll start at the bottom of the league and work our way up.
Columbus – Yes, the Blue Jackets won seven of their last 11 games and ownership continues to back the hockey department, but the team’s dreadful start when so much was expected, its last place finish, the coaching change, the fan protest, and the Rick Nash mess all made for a dreadful season. The future of interim coach Todd Richards is uncertain, but the huge question mark is Nash’s fate. If he is traded — which is widely expected — what will embattled GM Scott Howson get in return? Will it be enough to reverse this club’s direction and win back the many discontented fans? Michael Arace of The Columbus Dispatch summed it all up over the weekend.