directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Re-ignite the Zherdev trade rumors

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Re-ignite the Zherdev trade rumors

Our good buddy Eklund over at has reported the following:

Blue Jackets and Canucks Talking? Oilers? I am chasing down a rumour this morning that the Jackets are talking to the Canucks about "a center off of their roster." I don't yet know what is being discussed the other way.I am also hearing that there have been some discussions that the Oilers may make a pitch for Zherdev.

Of course as with everything Eklund you take it with a grain of salt but it does give us something to discuss as we await tomorrow night's game.

Obviously Eklund and his "sources" have picked up on the latest Zherdev situation here in Columbus and the trade rumors are starting to fly. You've got to think that at this point GM Scott Howson is intently listening to all offers. So lets take a look at Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers to see if they make sense.

Vancouver - well here is a team that has stated publicly that they need another top 6 winger. Zherdev, when playing up to his ability, is certainly that. Would they be interested in Z? It seems like a valid possibility.

What the Jackets need is a center or another puck moving d-man. There has been rumors of Brendan Morrison (pictured right) being on the block in Vancouver. Morrison is a 32 year old center who has had a very consistent NHL career. He is scheduled to make 3.2 million this year and then will be an unrestricted free agent which means he'll be free to sign with any team. The Jackets could use him but I'm not so sure they'd be willing to part with Zherdev for a potential 1 year rental. Morrison has averaged 57 points over the past 7 seasons and plays a solid, dependable North American style game.

Of course the guy I'd love to the see Jackets return from Vancouver is Mattias Ohlund. Then again we are talking about a very consistent NHL defensemen who is scheduled to make 3.5 million over the next two years which is a bargain for what he brings. He will then be a UFA himself. The Canucks have a lot of defensive depth but its unlikely they'd move Ohlund unless they dig themselves a hole at the beginning of the year and get a little desperate for offensive help.

Edmonton is next. Here is another team that could use some offensive help and appears to have a lot of options on the backend. This team may be a little more plausible considering this is where new CBJ GM Scott Howson was groomed for 7 years as an assistant GM. There are a couple of players on this team that certainly would fill needs for us.

The first being Joni Pitkanen. Pitkanen was drafted by the Flyers 4th overall in the 2002 draft. He is an offensive defensemen who had a horrible year last year which was similar to Zherdev. He has since been shipped off to Edmonton for a multi player deal. Pitkanen signed a 1 year deal with Edmonton this summer and rumors are that he may be flipped yet again. Coach Ken Hitchcock has experience with this player as he coached him in Philly so it would seem if he did come over in a trade for Z we know what we'd be getting. On paper he would most certainly fill a need as an offensive defensemen.

The other player I'm interested in would be Shawn Horcoff. He is a 29 year old center who has put up pretty good numbers as a pro averaging 43 points in the last 5 years. He is scheduled to make 3.6 million over the next two years and then will be a UFA. He would fill an immediate need as a top 2 center. Maybe not the most ideal option but considering Z will make 3.5 million next year the salaries are a wash and Horcoff plays a good North American game. Again, if Howson brought him over he'd know what he was getting.

So there are a few options. Of course nothing is set in stone in terms of Z getting dealt and this is just mostly speculation and conjecture at this point.

One thing I do hope for is that GM Scott Howson will kick many tires around the league if he is serious about dealing Z and if he does deal him, its for something that will immediately help this team. I don't think that will be a problem as this GM strikes me as a very patient and careful and will want to make his first major deal as a GM a good one for the franchise and his track record.

No offseason would be complete without a little Zherdev drama!


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