directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Should Howson go for Richards?

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Should Howson go for Richards?

This was going to be the "Stat of the day" but then I got on a roll.

So yeah..great win last night but the topic of the CBJ nation is Tampa center Brad Richards. So in tribute I did a little diggin -- here is how Brad Richards has stacked up against the other top centers in this league the past 4 years:

2007 - 2008:
Scoring: 25th
Goals: 26th
Assists: 21st
+/-: 223 (dead last)
Nearest Jacket in overall points: Fedorov @ 63rd

2006 - 2007:
Scoring: 23rd
Goals: 25th
Assists: 22nd
+/-: 227
Nearest Jacket center in overall points: Fedorov @ 59th

2005 - 2006:
Scoring: 5th
Goals: 27th
Assists: 4th
+/-: tied @ 90th
Nearest Jacket center in overall points: Fedorov @ 53rd

2004 - 2005:

2003 - 2004:
Scoring: 3rd
Goals: 10th
Assists: 3rd
+/-: tied @ 17th
Nearest Jacket center in overall points: Marchant @ 63rd

So there you have it.

Richards highest rank in terms of overall point production at center has been 3rd overall in the league. As the Lightning have struggled so to has his overall production dropping to 25th in overall scoring this season in terms of centers.

From a CBJ perspective, over the past 4 seasons the highest ranking center we've had is Sergei Fedorov at 53rd -- yikes!!!

To say we have a glaring hole there is the understatements of understatements.

So the question is can Richards regain his top 5 form under Ken Hitchcock b/c he's getting paid as a top 5 center?

I'm sure that is a question Howson and his staff have explored and are exploring.

His best years have come playing with Fredrik Modin -- now put Rick Nash on the other side and now how do you thinks things look for him? He's also just 27 years old. Most players historically put up the best numbers in their careers from 27 - 31 which is typical referred to as their "prime" years.

I think it was Portzline (maybe it was Arace) who said they would trade all but the following to land him:

Nash, Leclaire, Zherdev, Voracek and Mason to land him.

I tend to agree with that but I'd throw in Boll and Russell as well to that list. I also don't see Modin or Chimera going anywhere in that deal.

At first I thought it would take Z but have since changed my mind on that one. Considering the way Z is playing and the salary we would take off Tampa's hands I think Z is to much of a price to pay in this case.

So besides pending UFAs of whom I doubt the Lighting would want as they are trimming payroll and by all accounts they want younger players in return here's what the Jackets have to offer:

Brule, Brassard, Legein, Lindstrom, Klesla, Fritsche, Tollefsen, Pineault, Picard, Methot, Lacosta, Popperle among others and of course draft picks.

I think the Jackets also may be able to pull even more assets when they sell off some impending UFAs.

I think Tampa would want near or NHL ready young cost friendy players. That puts Brule, Brassard, Klesla, Tollefsen and Klesla right at the top of that list.

So for me after looking at this from a big picture, I think Howson must absolutely make this deal if he can with what's available. He's got the assets and he's got the budget for him. Sure there is some risk and lets not kid ourselves, Richards is overpaid. To me we'd have to overpay anyhow in UFA for a guy not nearly as good or young. There is also far greater risk of staying a mediocre team without addressing the #1 center position in a big way.

Now is the time for bold moves. Now is the time for this organization to take the next step and add the "right" players. Richards is the "right" guy at this time. This isn't a stop gap -- this is a young 27 year old who is experienced winner. This is a guy who has put up consistant seasons. This is a guy signed for 3 more years.

The question now is if Tampa can find a better offer than what we make and/or *if* Richards would waive his no trade to come to Columbus OH and play for a team that probably won't make the playoffs this year but is certainly trending up.

Any thoughts out there -- should Howson go for it or wait?



Pub said...

Lets go get him man. Like you said...its not like the Feds trade...desperate GM making a dumb move for an overpaid old fart. This guy could be around for years. And with Hitch molding him...he could be unreal...because he WOULD have to play both ways...see Nash/Z.


Would he come here knowing of Hitches demanding style?

Anonymous said...

Is this really a wise move? For the last couple of seasons, haven't we bemoaned those trade moves where we pick up someone who USED to produce, at an inflated salary, for talent that later blossomed?

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a wise trade...about as wise as they come. A 27 year old proven center in his prime who knows how to win. Things are stale in Tampa, they have been on the decline since they won the cup and a change of scenery is likely what this kid needs. You have to give something to get something, and I don't see Scott giving up anything that will hurt our future.

This isn't the idiot GM that we used to have.

Anonymous said...

If a reason he doesn't come here is because of a coach with a demanding style then we wouldn't have wanted him here anyway. The last thing we need is another soft player who has a hissy fit every time the coach asks for more from him. We have a few of those character-less players already, we wouldn't want another one.

Tell me what coach in the league isn't demanding? *rolls eyes* at comment in general.

Anonymous said...

I think it's impossible to say without knowing the price Tampa is asking... it's all relative. I'm afraid the price would be too steep: a combination of up & coming rookies and a first round pick (if not additional picks). I'd be more comfortable with such a trade in a year or two after Hitch & Howson have a better foundation in place.

Anonymous said...

What better foundation do we need? We have had a glaring hole at center for several years. Richards is in his prime and it is players in their prime that we are also sorrowly lacking. We have Leclaire, Nash, Mason, Legien, Brassard, Klesla, Voracek, Pinnault, Sestito, Russell, Boll, Rome, Wilson, Tolly, Fritsche, Chimera, and Zherdev--as our foundation--that is a pretty dynamic bunch--we need a guy or three exactly where Richards is in his career.

It is true it is all relative and the basis of the deal being a good move or not all depends on who you give up to get him. The 'tard that suggested giving up Mason and Voracek to get him is...well, a 'tard. That is far too much. For me this deal is not really about this year anyway--it is about filling a need that we have had for years and for setting the table for next year and the years following.

Center is a huge hole we have and we will be paying at least 7 million this summer if we even want to be in the running for a top guy like Hossa anyway. If we can trade for Richards and don't sell the farm on him, you have to make this deal.

Comparing Richards to someone who USED to produce (ala Fedorov) is asenine as well. Feds had been finished producing for at least 2 years when idiot Doug traded for him.

Anonymous said...

After only one offseason under H&H & with 7 UFA's on the active roster, I would hardly call what we have a foundation (we might resign what, two?). Youth & potential, yes; foundation, no. Don't get me wrong, if the price is right, I'm all for Richards. I'm just not confident that it will be.

Anonymous said...

you got to do it. these opportunities don't come around often. as for the fedorov comparisons, Richards is about 8-9 years younger than Fedorov was when the CBJ got him. the comparison doesn't wash with me. make it so, mr. scott.

Anonymous said...

I like the thought of getting a playmaker, but does the fact that he has one of the worst +/- ratings of all centers in the league trouble anyone else? What is the good of scoring/assisting on a goal when 2 get scored against you?