The Columbus Blue Jackets shocked the NHL before Wednesday’s trade deadline, sending Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and John Moore to the New York Rangers for scoring star Marian Gaborik. It didn’t take Gaborik long to come up big for the Blue Jackets, as he scored the eventual game-winning goal in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. The Blue Jackets continue to hover just outside of playoff contention, and have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 season.
Gaborik had only scored twice in his last 22 games for the Rangers, but had nine goals and 19 points in 35 games this season. While the cost of acquiring him was high, he immediately gives the Blue Jackets a legitimate scoring threat up front – something they haven’t had since they traded Rick Nash to the Rangers in the summer. Gaborik also added an assist on Thursday night, as James Wisniewski and Matt Calvert scored the team’s other goals.
While the addition of Gaborik makes the Blue Jackets a contender this season, they also get to keep him around next season. In his NHL career, Gaborik has scored 334 goals and collected 668 points. He joins team-leading scorer Vinny Prospal and young sniper Artem Anisimov on the top line, as the Blue Jackets try and get away from their early-season habit of letting games be decided by one-goal margins. With increased scoring up front and the great play of Sergei Bobrovsky in net, Columbus is poised to return to the playoffs. Gaborik seems more than ready to help them on that quest.