Columbus GM Howson: “We finished 30th in the league, but we don’t think we’re that far away”

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There’s a lot of focus on the Columbus Blue Jackets at the moment. They’ll select second overall at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, they’ll likely deal captain and leading scorer Rick Nash and, come July 1, they’ll have (reportedly) over $20 million to spend on free agents.

As such, GM Scott Howson is a busy man. He’s dealing with fellow GMs, working the phones, checking out potential draftees and, this morning, talking to TSN 1050 Radio in Toronto — offering a rather curious take on the current state of his franchise.

“We finished 30th in the league,” Howson told Gameday host Scott MacArthur. “But we don’t think we’re that far away.”

This from the general manager of a team that finished nine points behind the 29th team in the NHL last year.

In case you’re wondering, the best follow-up punchlines to Howson’s “we don’t think we’re that far away” are:

“…From the AHL.”

“…From Cincinnati, in a geographical sense.”

“…From figuring out this Rubik’s cube.”

“…From winning the Super Bowl.”

In case you’re curious (and I’m sure you are), Columbus’ 65 points in 2011-12 tied for the seventh-lowest total since the lockout:

2006-07 — Philadelphia, 56 points
2005-06 — St. Louis, 57 points
2005-06 — Pittsburgh, 58 points
2008-09 — New York Islanders, 61 points
2009-10 — Edmonton, 62 points
2010-11 — Edmonton, 62 points
2005-06 — Chicago, 65 points