In one of the stranger lockout twists, veteran defenseman Adrian Aucoin could end up being a Blue Jacket in name only.
That’s something the 39-year-old acknowledged in speaking with the Columbus Dispatch over the weekend.
“Like it or not, I have to think about it,” he told the paper. “In a perfect world, I’d play forever.”
Aucoin’s current situation is far from perfect.
After spending the last three years in Phoenix, he signed a one-year, $2 million deal with Columbus at the start of free agency, to (theoretically) provide experience on a young defense that would (theoretically) feature Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon and John Moore.
But that plan’s gone awry.
In November, Aucoin acknowledged his future might’ve gone awry too, telling the Dispatch losing the season means a “huge possibility” for his retirement.
“I’m not naive,” he said at the time. “I think we all saw what happened [with the last lockout], and there’s really no reason to think it would be different.”
What’s more, Aucoin didn’t just move to Columbus — he brought the whole family along with him. His wife and five children relocated to the Midwest, a decision based largely on Aucoin’s research.
“One guy I keep in touch with is Freddy Modin and he still lives in Columbus, which is a surprise because most Swedish guys go home as soon as they’re done,” Aucoin explained. “The conversations I’ve had over the years with guys like Luke Richardson and Scott Lachance and Ray Whitney — these guys had nothing bad to say about it.
“They all said when the hockey gets on track, it’d be one of the better places in the league to play.”
Aucoin isn’t the only veteran realizing the lockout could end his career. Jamie Langenbrunner spoke about the possibility, as have Edmonton’s Andy Sutton and Boston’s Shawn Thornton.
Older players realize that a year away from the game can essentially force a curtain call, which would be too bad for Aucoin, who really wants to play for the Jackets.
“My older daughter doesn’t want to leave Columbus,” he said. “My 10-year-old plays hockey, so he has a team and a set of friends. His buddies know I’m on the Blue Jackets and they want to see me play.
“They ask me when the lockout is going to end.”