directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Malone chatter continues

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Malone chatter continues

The Malone to Jackets rumors continue to swirl - this from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

Malone and the Penguins are believed to be far apart on a new contract. He is expected to lean toward testing the free-agent market, where the Columbus Blue Jackets will likely make a play for his services - possibly with an offer near $5 million annually over five years.

Whew... 5 mil a year for a guy who has never topped 51 points in his career? A guy whose most effective years have come at wing?

To be honest I don't get it.

Malone broke into the league as a center and was moved to wing once Pittsburgh hit the lottery with the guys like Malkin, Crosby and Staal. He had a couple of good years producing without those studs namely in 2003 when he scored 22g, 21a for 41 points (however he was -23).

Look I live Malone's grit. I love his physical presence and he ability to score the dirty goals. He is certainly a guy we could use in the lineup. I also know we are going to have to overpay for any guy we target in free agency -- that's just how its going to be.

What I don't understand is why are we seemingly making such a hard push, to the point where according to Puck-Rackers, they are offering (or are going to offer) assets for rights to talk to him, when he certainly does not fill our biggest needs which are 2 centers and 2 defensemen.

If we are willing to pay 5 mil a year for him why not just wait until Unrestricted Free Agency starts and make our move then? Perhaps the idea of luring free agents to Columbus will be as hard as some people think and aren't convinced they can outbid other teams?

Yes, he would be better than anything we have although that isn't saying a whole lot. I would have to think that the plan would be play him at center which to me is not good enough. As a fan I expect more. Malone is not the answer at center I'm afraid to say.

Malone's career best is 24 assists. Hardly the kind of playmaker I want feeding Nasher.

Maybe they want him at wing but then I ask why so aggressive with what is our deepest position in our lineup and also the deepest pool of UFAs this summer with guys like Stillman/Hossa/Naslund/Ryder/Huselius/Hagman/Brunette/Rolston. Surely we could nab one of those players to fill our open top 6 wing position.

Perhaps the market is difficult and we have to take what's out there. Perhaps it would be just a first strike by Howson to get all eyes on Columbus to start making it look like a lot more attractive in other free agents eyes as he maps out his next moves. Perhaps they just really really like what Malone would bring to the table.

I mean Malone is better than nothing I guess and you'd have to believe he wouldn't be our only move. However as a pre-draft move he was not the name I was expecting to hear in rumor mills -- free agency, sure....but our big draft day move -- I certainly had different names in mind.

We'll have to wait and see if this thing materializes before really dissecting it but these Malone to Columbus rumors do seem to have some legs.

Just excuse me if I don't get to excited about this one quite yet.

Update: Just as I finished typing this Portzline had some more info on the Malong situation in Puck-rakers blog.

Penguins have made Hossa a long-term contract offer -- believed to be seven years, $50 million -- and expect to hear back from him in a couple of days.

If Hossa accepts the contract -- and the Penguins expect he will -- Ryan Malone's days in the Steel City are finished.

At that point, it's believed the Blue Jackets will swoop in and trade for Malone's negotiating rights to get him signed before the July 1 free agency free-for-all. What will the Blue Jackets give up? I've heard Dan Fritsche, straight up, and I've heard a second- or third-round draft pick.

If they gave up a 3rd or higher I could certainly live with it. I wouldn't even mind Dan Fritsche as much just b/c I don't think he's part of the future here. I may even be able to live with the 2nd. If he dishes the 19th then I think its vast overpayment and a panic move by Howson especially if he intends to throw 5 mil a year at him.

Of course he knows the market and its impossible for us to know what the going rate this offseason is for negotiation rights. Remember though that Philly gave the 23rd overall pick to land both Timonen and Hartnell.

Here's an idea -- how about trading rights to negotiate with Hainsey for Malone? :)

Discuss - as a fan would you be excited by a Ryan Malone acquisition? Do you expect him to play wing or center?



Neal said...

I think a guy Ryan Malone can really help the CBJ, so yes, I'll be excited if we acquire him, but hopefully, it's for a 3rd round pick. That seems more than fair for a guy Pitt has no intentions on resigning.

2nd line LW

Jon said...

I agree with Neal; that is, Malone is a piece of the puzzle, and as good a place to start as any. I'm not sure about 25M for 5 years, but I'm not hip to the market-will trust GMSH on this one. DF or 3rd rounder for him sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a great asset to have Malone. He is gritty, big, competitive, experienced and seems to care about his teammates which is exactly what the jackets need. Nash doesn't exactly need a guy who can make the perfect play to be on his line, he clearly can do a lot

of the heavy lifting himself. Heck he has been doing it mostly on his own his whole career.

What Nash needs more than anything, is another big body to go to the net with him. Somebody who can take some focus off of him. Imagine Nash, Malone and Modin as our top line?

We need NHL calibre players, and yes 2 centers is most desired, but seriously, at this point we need competitive players who are willing to pay the price. Malone is that and Malone IS a center. He was a center up until all those guys came in to Pitts.

If both Scott and Hitch are comfortable/confidant in adding him as a center, I would imagine we all should feel at ease with it. They know what it takes for a player to adjust positions and whether or not they are capable of it.

Fedorov was our best d-man when he went back there. Hitch used Kapenen--a RW I believe as a d man in the playoffs a few years back. Both guys did a fine job moving to completely different positions!

Moving from wing to center might be tough if you hadn't ever done it, but Malone WAS a center. He knows the position so I can't imagine he would have too tough of a time adjusting.

5 mil for 5 years is a bargain--if this guy tests free agency his tag will go up. Why wait for that if Scott can swing a deal for in the ballpark of what Portzline stated, why wouldn't you? Seems like a no-brainer.

I think we all have to get used to the fact that the costs are going up and 5 million a year ago isn't the same as 5 now. It just cost more, but even stating that, I don't think 5 mil. for him is too much.

In a few years hopefully Brassard and Voracek will take over at center and Malone could be our checking center or give more depth on the wing after/if Modin leaves.

Sure, maybe he isn't a Marleau or a Jokinen, but let's face it...Oli could simply be one of those 'good player on a bad team guys'. He has also never played a playoff game. I am not sure I want to invite more of that type of complacency into the locker room. Malone came to within an inch of the grand prize and his hunger level will be increased dramatically.

Marleau just doesn't thrill me. He seems to lack an edge when he plays, and from the rumors that I have heard, he brings nothing to the locker room. This is also a guy who hasn't seemed to reach a different gear. Plus, isn't he going to make 6.3 million next year? That is way too much for him, imo.

Malone would be a great addition, imo.

Pub said...

Malone looks to me to be a classic Hitch type player. Yea...5 mill seems like a lot for sure. But keeping him on wing may free us up even more for trading Zherdev for that #1 center. If we just give up a mid round pick or Fritsche than I would be very happy.

Anonymous said...

pub: I am a bit concerened that Zherdev is going to get us as much as we hoped.

He is a known malcontent and faded into the woodwork down the stretch last season when the team needed him. Pair that with his salary rocketing to 3.5 mil (thanks again Doug) for next year, he will be tough to unload.

Surely he could be packaged for something, but it is a shame that a guy with that much skill has created such a poor reputation for himself at such a young age. When the Russian national team doesn't even want him, you know you are in trouble!

Sean said...

Does anyone have a breakdown of Malone on the PP? If he goes to the net then maybe he brings the skill level and toughness of our Powerplay up which certainly would be a big help in itself. I don't think we should overpay this guy on the wing but I don't like him at center either. I maybe buy into the logic that signing a guy like Malone signals to other UFAs that Columbus is serious. And lets face it: this guy has Stanley Cup experience now which is critical on the BlueJackets right now.

Anonymous said...

sean: He goes to those difficult areas and pushes--hard. He was right in the thick of it all in the playoffs.

No, he isn't the dreamboat center that we are looking for but he may not be the only guy we get either. Would Richards have fit that role? Sure, but that ship has sailed.

It is not like we have an abundance of top 6 forwards. He most certainly is one of those and that helps us. Where he fits in the lineup is for Hitchcock to worry about. Fact is that he can and has played center in the NHL.

If we get him and say: Pierre Marc-Bouchard, or Vermette, or RJ Umberger--any of these combos would help.

Of the crop that is supposedly available, I like him a lot. He may be somewhat of a stop gap, but when you add a top 6 guy as a stop gap, that can't hurt your team in the least.

Douglas said...

2 brief thoughts:
1) I have Malone sticker-shock until I consider that CBJ will have to overpay until they develop a rep as a winning-team.
2) Howson isn't losing sight of the prize (center/d-man), he is just making a solid move. A move which could make Z even more trade-able for "the prize." (As much as I'd hate to see Z go, with Brassard and Voracek possibly coming up...)