directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Crystal ball time v4.0

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Crystal ball time v4.0

The lastest and greatest dream is below!

1. 19th overall traded to Toronto for Pavel Kubina.
Kubina is a 31 year old defensemen who was 19th in scoring amongst defensemen last season with 40 points on mediocure Leafs team. He's got two years left on his deal at 5 mil a piece. He posses a low points shot and is very good in just about every aspect of the game. He immediately upgrades a very poor defensive unit. He's also a right handed shot which the Jackets desperately need.

2. Brule & 2nd round pick (37th overall) traded to Philly for RJ Umberger. Jackets sign him to 4 year 12 million dollar deal.
Draft day trade. The Jackets need a set up guy for Rick Nash. Umberger was 28th in the league in assists for centers with 37. Looking through the list of top centers he is the first playmaking one that strikes me as really being available and I think he'd be a good fit. He's only 26, is an RFA and is only going to get better. The Flyers just don't have the room for him with having to get Jeff Carter locked down and improving their defense. Umberger had 50 points total last season in 34 games. He's got the size at 6'2" and won't break the bank. He is very capable of sliding into a top 6 center position and opening up some ice for Nash and Modin and more importantly, getting them the puck. A cherry on top is that he played for Ohio State.

3. Zherdev + Fritsche traded to Ottawa for Antoinne Vermette and rights to Wade Redden.
Another pre-draft trade. Ottawa doesn't want to pay what Vermette demands as an RFA so they deal him for some depth. The Jackets offer up a few proposals for Vermette and Ottawa ultimately settles for a package of Zherdev + Fritsche. The Jackets agree with the stipulation that the rights to Wade Redden are included.

The Jackets immediately lock Vermette down to a 4 year deal worth 12 mil. Vermette is very versitile, he can play in any forward position so say if a Derick Brassard proves he's ready in camp then Vermette could slide to a wing while Brassard anchors the #2 hole.

After acquiring his rights the Jackets make Redden an offer he can't refuse including a NTC. They lock him down to a 5 year 30 mil dollar deal. Overpayment for sure but Redden is a solid reliable defensemen who can run the PP and is very good in all 3 zones. He was 22nd among defensemen in scoring and he along with Kubina, Klesla and Hejda give the Jackets a defense that is by far the best they've ever had to work with.

5. Andrew Brunette signed to 2 year 6 mil
Brunette is a an older veteran (34) who is a top 6 left wing. He is 6'1" 212 pounds who hasn't missed a game in the past 5 seasons. He is as good a playmaker as he is a goal scorer. He has averaged 68 points over the past 3 years. He really compliments the top 6 and gives them another consistant scorer which this team desperately needs.

6. Ryan Malone signed to 5 year 22.5 mil
Ultimatley Malone would have liked to have stayed in Pitt but with names like Malkin, Hossa and Staal to resign in the near future they just couldn't afford to commit that kind of salary. That opens up the door for Howson to throw a wad of cash and term at the rugged winger. Howson loves his grit and scoring touch and Hitch loves his competitive fire which is badly needed in our top 6. Yes they overpay but he solidfys the top 6. Of course questions about his offensive production will be on the forefront - was it him or playing with franchise guys like Crosby and Malkin? The good news there is that Malone put up 43 points his rookie year without either guy..or anyone of note really. He can also play center.

7. Leclaire resigned to 4 year 16 mil
No brainer here. No team can win without good goaltending. Leclaire is resigned to a 4 year 16 mil dollar deal. That gives Mason plenty of time to develop and solifies our net for the foreseeable future.

8. Jan Hejda signed to 3 year 6 mil (check! although I had 4 year 10 mil previously)
Howson locks up our best defensive defensemen with a 3 year deal that averages 2 mil per.

Your 2008-2009 Columbus Blue Jackets:

Nash (6.5) Umberger (3) Modin (3.5)
Brunette (3) Vermette (3) Malone (4.5)
Chimera (1.875) Malhotra (1.5) Voracek (875k)
Boll (570k) Murray (800k) Dorsett (570k)
Depth: Novotny/Brassard/Pineault/Picard/Sestito/Legein

Redden (6) Hejda (2)
Klesla (1.65) Kubina (5)
Tollefsen (750k) Rome (750k)
Depth: Russell/Methot/Wilson/Sigalet

Leclaire (4)
Norrena (900k)
Depth: Mason/LaCosta

Total salary: 50.74


This team puts the Jackets at budget with 50.74 mil committed towards next year and is a vast upgrade in skill. Sure its probably a little more than ownership wanted to spend but if persented with that kind of lineup there is just no way ownership could say no.

That is a team that will make the playoffs.

This is a team that has significantly upgraded itself up the middle with players that are good but are going to get even better in Vermette and Umberger.

This is a team that has significantly upgraded its defense and puck moving ability with the addition of Redden and Kubina.

This is also a team that has upgraded its overall scoring puch adding 4 players who scored 50 or more points last season (Vermette/Umberger/Brunette/Malone) while only giving up 1 in Zherdev. It also allows young players like Brassard/Voracek/Russell to continue their development and puts no uneeded pressure on them to player higher in the linenup than they should or their development warrants.

It also gives Hitch a nice mix of proven veterans, guys in/or approaching their prime and youngsters which to work with.

This is also a team that will stay together for at least 2 years. At that point guys like Malhotra/Brunette and Klesla will fall of the books if not re-signed. There will be financial flexibility to resign guys like Nash/Brassard/Voracek/Russell.

Another plus is that in this scenario the Jackets retain their #6 overall selection and add a significant piece to their system. That better be the last top 10 pick the Jackets have for quite some time. They do give up some of their future in Colorado's 1st, their 2nd, Zherdev, Brule & Fritsche but its the price you have to pay.

This team isn't quite as tough as I would like and we wouldn't have a clear #1 center as Vermette and Umberger are both #2 guys. That said they would both be big upgrades over what we previously had and I as I mentioned both hit 50 points playing less than they would here. Marleau was an option but I think San Jose will want the moon and quite frankly I don't think he's worth it.

Anyhow...another example of what Howson could do this summer (and another example that I have to much time on my hands) but its fun playing with the different options.

Crystal ball v1.0

Crystal ball v2.0

Crystal ball v3.0



Anonymous said...

Love the line up except for Modin. With his fragile nature, what makes you think he'll be around at all? Who replaces him on the Nash line?

Anonymous said...

Modin: 'fragile nature'?

In the 4 years leading up to this last one, he missed 16 games total AND played 47 playoff games. This past season he had a cracked bone in his back that the medical staff misdiagnosed.

I would hardly consider him to have a 'fragile nature' after one difficult year out of the last 5 seasons.

What makes LTL think he will be around at all? The fact that nobody has stated otherwise, and people within the org. now know exactly what was going on with him and he is already getting ready for next year.

Nobody was more disappointed in Modin's season than Modin. He will be ready.

Jo said...

My sole issue with this one is that I think that is *hideous* overpayment for Vermette and the option to negotiate a little early with Redden. The latter isn't that high on value (why don't we send them similar rights to Hainsey?), and we're sending them a second-line guy AND a third-liner with second-line potential upside for one second-liner. Noooo thanks!

LTL said...

Anonymous #2 pretty much answered the way I would have.

...but say injuries do occur, which inevitably they always do, to that lineup. The beatufil thing about it is that both Vermette and Umberger can play wing as well. Not only that but Malone has played some center.

So say a winger like a Modin goes down (although I just don't see him having another injury riddled year like last year) then you can slot Brassard into that #2 center and move Vermette or an Umberger to a wing.

Lots of flexibilty with some of those players. A guy like Vermette can play anywhere in your forward lineup and adjust quickly and effectively.

I'm a big Modin fan. When this guy is healthy he's a hell of a player for us. Will be nice to see what he and Nash can do with a center who can distribute the puck.


LTL said...

I see your point Jo. It does seem like overpayment but its hard to guage a guy like Vermette's worth.

I do think we will have to overpay to get our centers though - they are just move valued than wingers.

Mayber Z straight up for Vermette and rights to negotiate with Redden?

I don't think Fritsche will be a Blue Jacket next year though. I'm convinced he'll get moved as part of a package for someone.

I'm ready for some action!!

Thanks for the comments btw!


Nate said...

I have these as lines for next season.

Extras: Sestito, Picard, Murray, McDonald, Pineault, Vigilante, Dorsett, Starkov, Pohl, McGuirk, Jarman

Extras: Tollefsen, Rome, Wilson, Methot, Holden, Sigalet, Wharton, Plekhanov, Clitsome, Hendrikx, Landry

Extras: Mason, LaCosta