The goal is simple. The Columbus Blue Jackets were one point away from ending a five-year playoff drought last season and the main motivation for 2013-14 season is to make sure the streak doesn't extend to a sixth year.
This was on display last offseason when the club extended the contract of Sergei Bobrovsky and acquired free agent forward Nathan Horton, and it'll surely be on display again at the 2014 trade deadline.
We thought the Blue Jackets would have a rough time in the Metropolitan Division, but it's been a relatively easy go compared to the old Central Division, and they entered the Olympic break just one point out of the postseason.
A New York state of mind
The Blue Jackets haven't been mentioned in many rumor reports. Of course, the one rumor that does involve the Blue Jackets also includes the New York Rangers.
Partners in a collection of substantial trades over the last two years, the Rangers and Blue Jackets executed a blockbuster deal at last year's deadline that brought Marian Gaborik to Columbus. Before the 2013 season started, the two teams agreed to another blockbuster that brought former Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash to New York.
Another captain swap?
The Rangers seem intent on trading captain Ryan Callahan. A pending unrestricted free agent, Callahan is reportedly asking for a seven-year contract with an annual cap hit of $6.75 million. The Rangers aren't appeasing that request have decided to move Callahan if a more reasonable agreement can't be reached before the deadline.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN noted several weeks ago that the Blue Jackets were one of several teams who showed interest in Callahan. The extent of this interest hasn't been expounded upon, so the depth of discussions are an unknown at this stage.
What is known is Callahan's agent was given permission to speak to a team about contract numbers before the Olympic break. Now that the Olympics are over, interested teams might be more intrigued to bite on Callahan.
How much would Callahan cost?
Callahan is in the final year of his contract and will be free to sign with whomever he wants in July. He obviously wants a lot of money, which is something to be mindful of when trading for him. The question remains whether adding Callahan would actually benefit the Blue Jackets. Sure, he's a fantastic player but the Blue Jackets have depth at forward. Is it worth it?
Deals may not help
Realistically, the Blue Jackets might be better served leaving the team together as is. The club is in a wide-open conference and could battle into playoff contention with the roster they currently have. A big move might be a mistake for a team that certainly, finally, seems on the upswing.