directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: UFAs - to move or not to move

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Monday, January 7, 2008

UFAs - to move or not to move

The trade deadline is quickly becoming known as "who wants to rent a UFA?". In other words, players who are in the final year of their contracts of whom most don't figure in their current teams long terms plan but could certainly assist a contending team in a playoff run.

Here is TSN's thoughts on some of the Jackets UFAs to be:

Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergei Fedorov, Adam Foote and Ron Hainsey. Fedorov and Foote have frequently appeared in the rumor mill, but if the Jackets are still in the playoff picture by late February they’ll remain in Columbus. Don’t expect the Jackets to shop Hainsey, who has blossomed under Ken Hitchcock’s coaching.

Full article here.

Now here is my personal opinion on all UFAs to be and their future with the Jackets.

I still think regardless Fedorov is dealt. He just doesn't bring enough to the lineup for the dollar. Alot will depend on the where the Jackets sit come deadline time and how callups like Dereck Brassard look in the lineup but 8g, 14a for 22 points in 42 games and a -4 --- just not good enough for the role he's expected to play on this team.

Crystal Ball: He's dealt for a minimum 1st round pick at or before the deadline. I think they'd trade him tomorrow if they could get something decent in return. A team with cup aspirations is gonna want this guy. The fact that he's racking up some points lately will only add to his value. The org will collect some assets, save some money and move forward with a plan to obtain a better #1 center in the offseason.

Foote is another interesting possibility. The Dispatch has reported that Howson would like to resign him. The question is how much does Foote want to stay? I think he'll want to much but if this team is still in the hunt there is no way they can deal him, we just don't have anyone to fill his minutes and we'll need his experience back here.

Crystal ball: I would love to see him resigned for the right price but alas he finishes the year as a Jacket and walks as a UFA for more money and perceived greener pastures.

Yes, Hainsey leads this team in points on the blueline. Yes, he's improved his game this year. Problem though is that he is going to want to much money for what he brings to team. I personally don't think Hitch or Howson are to inammured with him and I think they believe they can get a better player for the money he'll command and that a guy like Kris Russell can help fill the void on the PP next season.

Crystal ball: For a push the Jackets can't afford to lose him as he's the best we've got on the PP so he's not traded. He finishes the season as a Blue Jacket and walks as a UFA for more money.

Its no secret Vyborny is on the block. His numbers are terrible (3g, 8a in 32gp -8), he appears to have lost a step and he's battling injuries all season and he just doesn't fit into a Howson/Hitch style team. I also believe that Lindstrom has shown that he could step into Vyborny's role and player harder, faster and cheaper with more upside.

Crystal ball: Dealt by the deadline for either pick(s) or prospect(s)

Here's a guy with terrific speed and size. Quite frankly he's underperformed this year compared to expectations. I think most people expected 20 goals out of him this year. He's on pace for 10. Still though I think there is enough here that warrants the Jackets trying real hard to sign this guy as you just can't teach size and speed. He also young at age 28 and just now coming into his prime.

Crystal ball: Re-signed to a 3 to 4 year deal.

When he's played the Jackets have been a more successfull club. He's had a lot of nights where he's been invisible but he has chipped in 4g, 12a for 16 points in 27 games. The problem is that he's to injury prone and you can't look past those invisible games. I think he's been a nice pickup under the Svitov circumstances but his position can be filled by a cheaper, younger, more upside player whether it by internally or UFA market.

Crystal ball: Dealt at the deadline to a guranteed cup contender for pick(s).

Shelley has been Shelley. Unfortunately he just hasn't had enough opportunities to fight this year. The organization has a big decision to make. Do they want a true enforcer on this team or not? If they do, sign him to the league minimum. If not, let him go at the end of the year. The problem with letting him go is that as soon as you part with a guy like Shelley you are looking for a replacement.

Crystal ball: Resigned to 1 to 2 year deal at league minimum


It will be interesting to watch how things unfold even if the Jackets are still in the hunt. They have a lot of pieces here that come deadline time they will get calls about. With the way guys like Murray & Lindstrom are playing...and who knows how Brassard will look...they could have some strong flexibility to play with.


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