directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Prediction time!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Prediction time!

What will Howson do? That is everyone's question at this point.

There doesn't seem to be any doubt that he wants to improve this team. We've heard the Malone chatter, the Marleau rumors and we've heard him state personally that he has both the #6 and #19 picks in play.

Lots of folks have speculated about these picks. Toronto media here. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun there. Of course the Dispatch has it covered with their latest article addressing the Marleau rumors here. The Hockey News speculation there.

The word is most definitely out that the Jackets want to players but now what?

Unfortunately we wait.

Doesn't mean we can speculate while we wait though!

Here's how I see it playing out.

The 6th pick will ultimately be made if one of Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo or Schenn are available. I don't think any team will make an offer substantial enough for him to part with that pick if one of those d-men are still on the board.

Portzline on the Cannon-fodder podcast made an interesting point -- some say that the player the Jackets could get at 6 would be better in two years time than anyone they would acquire via trade.

Of course remember we got Gilbert Brule at 6 three years ago but I think his comments were based on the depth of this particular draft -- especially the top 6 or 7 spots.

Now should those d-men be gone I think the likely hood of trading it outright, or at least trading down, sky rockets. Why? I just don't get the feeling the organization is completely sold on Filatov or Boedker and would be just as happy picking a Wilson/Hodgson/Myers. That would of course mean they stay within the top 10.

They could also most certainly trade down even further. An idea here would be to trade the 6th to Ottawa (remember the draft is in their city - think hometown splash) for Vermette and their 18th pick.

At the end of all the phone calls, speculation and bally-hoo I expect one of the big 4 d-men to be available and for Howson to make his pick and Pietrangelo or Schenn will be a Blue Jacket come Friday night.

The 19th pick is where I expect the action tomorrow. Reports have said that Howson is getting more phone calls about the 19th pick and with teams like Pittsburgh and San Jose who don't have picks at all in the first 3 rounds that selection has to look pretty juicy. A team like Florida, who is said to have Jokinen on the block, lacks a 1st round pick.

Of course that isn't going to land you a top line center like a Marleau or Jokinen alone but packaged together with other assets and Howson could be off an running.

Regardless I give it a 1% chance of Howson retaining that pick. He must come out of this draft with at least one NHL body and if the deal for a young impact player isn't there at 6 - which I don't expect it to be - then the 19th gets moved for roster player that can help "win now".

My prediction:
6th - Schenn or Pietrangelo
19th - traded

Its certainly a dynamic environment so all it takes is one phone call with a substantial offer and the Jackets would never look the same again.

Word of advice from a very plugged in friend of mine -- expect the worst and hope for the best.

Here's to hoping.

Discuss - what do you think will happen over the next day and a 1/2?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with that pretty much. After Portzline's description of Pietrangelo and how ppl are comparing him to Pronger, even though he is down to the 3rd. 4th. ranked d-man. That is too good to pass up, so if he is available, indeed that is the choice. While Schenn is up there, I do not like how he is mostly a stay-at-home guy, when our most glaring problem is the last ranked offense. At that point, the 19th. is used to get ANY offensive relief!