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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Malone's rights to the Lightning and more

Well I guess we'll find out pretty quickly if Ryan Malone was being serious about testing the free agent market or just using it as an excuse to avoid Columbus - from the Tampa Bay Lightning's web site:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired the rights to left wings Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts from Pittsburgh in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2009, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced.

“We said earlier this week we would be aggressive in our pursuit of free agents in order to win and compete,” Koules said. “This trade today doesn’t guarantee anything, but we believe it gives us a leg up in our attempt to sign these two impact players.”

The new owners certainly don't appear to be screwing around but with only 3 days until free agency begins I would be shocked if Malone signs.

According to TSN its a 4th round pick going the other way and if Malone were to sign that pick becomes a 3rd rounder.

Its going to be a real battle to land the top guys come July 1st and my confidence in the Jackets chances to land a big fish dwindles by the day especially with the cap raising by 6 million.

Not sure who else caught Michael Arace's article this morning about Jackets ownership - if you haven't you can read it here.

Decent read but I really have to question the timing of it. Aren't we trying to sell Columbus to potential free agents right about now? Couldn't ownership questions and speculation have wait until after July 1st -- I mean its waited this long?

The last thing Columbus needs at this point is to send out signals that there is ownership instability issues in their most important offseason ever.

I just thought the timing was really odd.

Finally ole Druval Westcott is being bought out. Westcott was a MacLean favorite and had a really good season back in 2005-2006 which earned him a 3 year contract. He's got two years left on his deal and has battled injuries since that season.

If you recall Westcott's concussion issues started when he came to the aid of Sergei Fedorov after a nasty hit by Jamal Mayers. Westcott went toe to toe standing up for a teammate against a much bigger man and seasoned fighter. Unfortunately Mayers got the best of Westcott in that fight and Duvie left with the first of many forthcoming concussions.

Clearly the Jackets are ready to move in a different direction and Westcott wasn't a part of their future plans. It appears to be a amicable split with no hard feeling on either end. Heck Duvie actually had this to say to Ryan Malone according to Puck-Rakers:

"He was asking me about it, yeah," Westcott said. "I told him it was a great city, a great bunch of guys int he room, great fans and an awesome building. It's a great place to play and raise a family, right? He and his wife just had a little one. And, you know, the way Ryan plays, he'd be a perfect fit in Hitch's system. Hitch likes big, physical wingers who get the puck deep and just wear people down. I think he'd be great there, if that's how it works out. I told him that, too."

That's pretty friggan cool of Duvie to say such things in his position. Speaks a lot towards this man's character.

So another one of Doug MacLean's guys is gone. Westcott joins the likes of Shelley, Foote, Fedorov and Vyborny as prominent Jackets who have moved in the year since Scott Howson has taken over.

More names figure to join that list as this offseason progresses.

Update: Todd Bertuzzi has cleared waivers according to TSN.

-LTL

4 comments:

Todd G said...

OK then...if we can't sign Malone, let's take a chance on Bert. If we can get him at a decent rate (What $ 2MM now?), why not?

If Malone is out of the picture, we have to make a pitch for Redden/Campbell/Liles. It will be a huge disapointmant to not land one of those D men.

Matt said...

There's far better free agent wingers out there than Bert, thank you, with far less baggage.

Morrison/Huselius/Redden/Liles is my prediction for our FA pickups, with possibly Orpik thrown in there, too if Howson gets really frisky.

Sean said...

Howson: Get really frisky!

Tom said...

Did I not hear that the Lightning offered Malone's dad a job? That could be a MINOR contributing factor...