Judging a GM based on speculative trade rumors is a tough thing to evaluate. Lord only knows if Sather’s rejected offer (rumored to be Dubi, Thomas, Miller, Erixon and a first rounder) was accurate or just Brooksie’s best guesstimate. What we do know is that Howson likely cost himself his job when he sold out Rick Nash during his post-deadline presser.
When reporters asked Howson why he was looking to move Nash, he said it was because Nash came to him and demanded a trade, thus forcing his hand. This admittance, whether accurate or not, was a very bad move for several reasons.
First off, everyone knows the Blue Jackets have to rebuild and trading Nash will help the organization go in that direction. It obviously was not an ideal scenario, but it was still sellable to their fans. You could have played this situation off the way Boston did with Bourque years ago or the way the Panthers have with virtually every star they’ve produced. You’re giving a long-time contributor a chance to win the Cup. Unfortunately, that PR opportunity is squandered. That is not the path Howson chose to walk.
So what happens now? How many people in Columbus are going to buy Nash jerseys now that they think he’s pulling a Heatley? How many people are going to pay for tickets to see his last few weeks as a Blue Jacket? This organization needs every bit of help they can get to make money and their GM just pissed on the only guy who can open the cash register.
And marketing isn’t their only problem moving forward. Once word got out that Heatley was holding Ottawa hostage his trade value plummeted. I don’t think Nash will end up being traded for a Milan Michalek-type & a second rounder, but they sure as hell aren’t getting Dubi, Thomas, Miller, Erixon, & a first. Not now anyway.
Best of luck Howson, in all of your future endeavors.