directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: 10 to 12

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

10 to 12

What? Its actually only 10 to 1 idiot!

Okay..enough with my bad humor.

What I'm really talkin about here is the 10 to 12 players that Howson mentioned he'd consider moving the 6th for.

Of course that gave me enough fodder to chew and spit out a post on the subject.

Okay - so here's what he know. Howson gave some criteria that he and his staff would have to consider before moving that pick:

* as stated, there are only 10-12 guys he'd consider moving it for
* only 3 of those guys are realistically available
* player acquired would have to contribute immediately
* player acquired would have to figure into Columbus' plans for at a minimum 5 to 6 years

The question I have though is that even with that criteria I can still think of 30 players I'd easily move that 6th overall pick for without having second thoughts.

So lets take some liberties here.

I think its safe to assume this player would have to be relatively young - say under 27. He would have to be putting up points now. Would either 1. have some years of RFA status left or 2. the organization would be willing to shell out the big bucks to keep them locked up in Columbus for at least 5 to 6 years.

Still not narrow enough.

So lets remove the obvious young players (not talking vets like Brodeur or Lidstrom) that we know would take alot more than the 6th overall to even get the GM on the other line talking:

Crosby/Ovechkin/Malkin/Phaneuf/Zetterberg/Datsyuk/Eric Staal/Thornton/Iginla/Lecavalier/Luongo/Backstrom/Kane/Toews/Mike Richards -- no chance at that group.

I will also say that this player needs to be a center - ideally a playmaker - or a puck moving defensemen.

Still way to many names left but from there I'm going to take a stab at what Howson's list may look like. Guys that they'd really like, are most likely unattainable, but you still never know group:

1. Getzlaf
After the World Championships they salivate at the thought of this player. Had 58 assits and was 9th in league scoring with 82 points. Can't see any scenario where Getzlaf is dealt to the Jackets unfortunately.

2. Spezza
World Championships put some chinks in his armor but this guy put up 92 points, including 58 assits, and could potentially be on the block. It would take more than the 6th to grab him.

3. Jeff Carter
Young stud in Philly who isn't a playmaker per se but can pass the puck, score and is a big body -the kind player that could help take some of the load off of Nash. If Philly continues to struggle getting this RFA locked down they may be tempted to swap him for the 6th.

4. PM Bouchard
50 assits which was 20th best in the league but mostly plays wing - is a young RFA that Minny may look to unload if he commands to much - a real good playmaker who scored 50+ points the past 3 seasons - 6th alone may get it done with him.

5. Henrik Sedin
This guy can really dish the puck as his 61 assists attests....but its a package deal -- his twin bro must come with him which would cost a lot more than the 6th.

6. Jordan Staal
Not a banner year statiscally but this kid is only 20 and already has a 30 goal season under his belt. He's big, kills penalties and has been stuck behind Crosby and Malkin in terms of valuable PP and scoring line time. A line of Nash-Staal-Modin would be real hard to contain..he would figure into the future in Columbus for a long long time.

7. Gomez
54 assists - signed the gigantic contract in New York - very unlikely to be dealt as he has a NTC but this is broad street we are talking about here and I never rule out anything. He would look great next to Nash and is signed for at least 5 more years.

8. Mike Green
Defensive dynamo on the Caps who had 18g, 38 assists and is also an RFA. Caps likely to match anything that comes his way but if negotiations stall he would solve a lot of problems on the Jackets backend

9. Paul Statsny
47 assists - how good would this kid look next to Nasher - he's young and is a real good playmaker who would only get better -- Colorado won't let this kid go.

10. Kopitar
The fact that we passed on him in the '05 draft makes it even more painfull to put his name on this list but this guy had 45 asssits to go along with his 32 goals last season and would be more than worth the 6th overall.

11. Kaberle
Older than 27 but had 45 assists on the blueline for Toronto and can really move the puck. Signed for 3 more years at a very reasonable cap hit. His problem is that he's got a NTC and its doubtfull he'd wave it to come to Cbus. If Howson made the deal it would be with the idea of resigning him.

12. Savard
Older than 27 but had 63 assists - great playmaker. Two years left on his deal but plenty in the tank -- outside chance he could be available from Boston.

Not making the cut - two guys we've all speculated about - Marleau and Jokinen.

While I think the Jackets are interested (even though Portzline has said the Jackets are not interested in Jokinen) I just can't see Howson giving up the 6th overall for either. They both have two years left on their deal like Savard but the difference between them and Savard is that Savard is a premier playmaker -- he would turn Nash into a 60 goal scorer. He was 3rd in the league with assists last year with 63 and 2nd the year before with 74! I don't think either Marleua or Jokinen could produce that.

The problem with Savard/Jokinen/Marleau is that they all only have 2 years left on their deals and will then be unrestricted free agents. They could certainly be re-signed but I don't think Howson would be willing to roll the dice with the 6th in this draft to find out -- at least not on Jokinen or Marleau -- I think it would be really hard no to roll it on Savard which is why he makes my list at 12.

Kopitar and Statsny could really be grouped with those other young studs like Kane, Toews and Backstrom as untouchables but I think they are probably a tier below those kids in term of long term career potential. Never the less they won't be going anywhere soon unless money becomes a problem.

Out of the list I have posted I think Carter, Bouchard and Jordan Staal are the most attainable with that 6th pick straight up. Spezza may be available but it would take more than the 6th to get him. The Sedins are rumored to be on the block but then you talking about a package of players and picks changing hands and I don't think we have the assets Vancouver would be looking for - which are impact NHLers - to make that deal work.

Other younger players I consdered were Patrice Bergeron, Patrick O'Sullivan, Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Joni Pitkanen, Ryan Whitney & Sam Gagner but for various reasons I did not put them in the top 12 here. Some due to injury question marks, some's value aren't worth the 6th and some just weren't quite as attractive as the top 12 I have and/or I just don't see their current clubs parting with them anytime soon (Parise/Gagner).

Anyhow that is my complete stab in the dark at the 10-12 players that Howson and co. may have on their list and perhaps have an outside shot at landing -- some much more plausible than others -- but hey, its fun to speculate.

8 days til the draft!!


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