directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Reaction

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Saturday, June 21, 2008


Whelp, the 2008 NHL draft is now over and as expected the Jackets held onto the 6th pick and selected Russian Nikita Filatov. The Jackets were active in moving the 19th + 3rd round pick to Philly for center R.J. Umberger and a 4th round pick.

Lets dig a little deeper on both of these moves.

First up the 6th overall pick.

All the speculation and mocks drafts leading up to the actual draft had the Jackets ending up with one of the 4 stud defensemen. Few if any had Nikita Filatov available by the 6th and going to the CBJ. Defensemen Luke Schenn appeared to be the player the Jackets selected.

Of course one can never predict exactly how a draft will go down and what a team like the Islanders did yesterday was no exception to that rule. Once Stamkos, Dougthy, Bogosian and Pietrangelo were off the board the Islanders inexplicably traded back not once, but twice passing on chances to take blue chip taelnt like Schenn, Filatov and Boedker to instead stockpile later round picks and take Josh Bailey at #9.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending who you wanted) that meant that Toronto leap frogged the Jackets and scooped up Luke Schenn.

So with the their turn to pick the consensus highest rated player available was Russian Nikita Filatov but would the Jackets be interested?

Some say if Filatov's name was "Joe Smith" he'd challenge Stamkos for #1 overall but with the lack of a transfer agreement with Russia his stock lowered. For the Jackets any idea of taking a Russian so highly conjures up thoughts of Nik Zherdev and all the problems that have come with him....more than that even is would he or was he free of contractual obligations to even come over to North America?
With all of those factors to consider would the Jackets risk it?

That question was answered with a resounding yes when the Jackets made Nikita Filatov their selection at 6 and 9th ever first round draft pick.

Was it the right move?

Hell yes it was.

Filatov was hands down the best player on the board. He's not Zherdev. He seems 110% committed to coming over to North America now to do whatever it takes to reach his goal of playing in the NHL. He already speaks fluent English. He plays a well rounded game and this kid has got major league talent.

If the Jackets were standing pat at 6 they had to take him. Especially when it was reported in the Dispatch that the Jackets "list" read 1. Stamkos 2. Bogosian 3. Filatov --- if that is true, which no reason to believe its not, then the Jackets just got their 3rd rated player at #6 in this very deep draft.

Every pick comes with an amount of risk -- obviously the guys in the first round and at the top of the draft are supposed to have the least amount. Filatov is one of those players I don't foresee the lack of an agreement being an issue in this particular case.

The kid is of slight build now. He's listed at 6 ft and 172lbs on Central Scouting. Sure he needs to put on some weight but that will come. Don't rule him out in terms of an outside shot at making this club though.

There was an even smaller kid by the name of Patrick Kane who at 5'9" 160lbs had no problem adjusting to the NHL game and making an impact at the rate of 70+ points.

Filatov can play in the NHL, AHL or Major Juniors next year so a lot of nice options for the Jackets in terms of what is best for his development.

Then of course we have RJ.

I've gone into depth as to why I think he'd be a good fit for us so I won't beat that horse to death to much more.

What I do want to talk about is what we gave up to him which was the 19th + 3rd for RJ and Philly's 4th?

Too much? Yeah lets not kid ourselves - we overpaid - but you know what, we also got better in filling a hole in our lineup and any of us (including me) that questioned Howson's ability to close a deal well he just answered that question in a major way.

I'm thrilled to have RJ in the fold. I see him slotting into one of those open center holes in the top 6 and becoming a key player on this team playing in all situations -- even strength, PP and PK.

Howson needs to get Umberger under contract though since he's a RFA. He's also arbitration eligible. I look for something to get done there rather quickly in a 3 to 4 year deal between 3 to 4 million.

Umberger a nice piece. Still lots of work to do and holes to fill in this lineup but I'm very happy to see Howson come out of this draft with at least 1 NHL body who can contribute today and tomorrow.

The Jackets made 8 more selection today in round 2 through 7. The most high profile pick coming at #37 when they selected defensemen Cody Goloubef who plays in the WCHA for Wisconsin. Goloubef is a 6 ft 195lb Ontario Canadian native. He shoots right and is more of an offensive guy.

He was ranked #34 on central scouting and this is what they had to say:

"When I first saw Cody I really liked his game. He is compact and he's strong with a wide stance. He's a good, powerful skater. He thinks the game well, has a really good shot and makes that first pass consistently. He is a solid two-way player that is going to play on your power-play. He played for a defensive style team at Wisconsin. His conservative play meant that I don't think a lot of scouts have seen the offensive side of him enough, but he's a potential top-four defensemen in the National Hockey League, maybe top-three. He's playing against guys who are at least three years older than him - if he was playing in the USHL he might have the puck all the time and be dominating, but he handled it well -- he's a solid kid.

Four of their 8 picks on day two were on defensemen. They made a minor trade with Boston to move 10 spots down in the 4th round and picked up a 5th in the process.

No doubt Howson has recognized a huge weakness with Columbus in terms of defensive depth and has worked very hard to address it. Since he's been here he's added defensive prospects Weber, Ruth, Holden, Sigalet and now this group of d-men led by Goloubef, Delisle, Olson and Regner.

For a complete profile on all day two selections click on this link.

All in all it was a good, but not great day, for Jacket fans. We added a stud prospect in Filatov, made a smart acquisition in 26 year old RJ Umberger and we added some nice depth to our system.

I'll have more on RJ and Filatov as the weekend goes on.

Discuss - were you pleased with the the moves made at the draft?



wizworm said...

I would have loved to see Howson manage to pull off a trade to get a #1 center but I'm more than happy with the way things unfolded. I like the addition of Umberger and I think he's the perfect type of player to fit Hitch's system and the idenity the Jacket's are building.

But I'm REALLY excited about Filatov. I was just listening to an interview with Kyle Woodleaf from Red Line Report and he was raving about this kid. He said he's just as good as Stamkos and is not your typical Russian (cough-Zherdev-cough). He says he's similar to Ovechkin in the passion and intensity he brings to the ice and wants to be the best player on the ice each and every shift. He's also apparently a really good teammate, leader and is 100% committed to playing in the NHL.

In case anyone doesn't already know, Filatov ISN'T signed to a Russian club next year. That means the transfer agreement has NO affect on him whatsoever. Apparently he wasn't even offered a contract because he's stated all along that he would be coming to North America next year. He's also pretty worldly. He's spent time living in Paris and South Africa and has been taught English since he was four. It doesn't sound like he'll have any trouble adapting to the North American culture the way Z has.

Rick said...

As much as most everyone has been saying that Howson needed to get a #1 center, the fact remains that he just doesn't have much to offer another team in terms of trade material. RJ will be a really good fit because (1) he's played under Hitch before (Philly), (2) he's played in C-Bus before (OSU), and (3) he sounds like he's real excited to play with Rick Nash.

With Filatovs' drive, I see him playing in the NHL in a relatively short time. Maybe he can help to turn Zherdevs' attitude around.

In essence, we traded Foote for Umberger plus some picks. Not a bad deal in my eyes.

LTL, keep up the good work!

wizworm said...

I hear ya Rick. It's not easy to land a #1 center, that's why I'm not to upset about Howson not being able to pull it off. I would LOVE to have filled that hole but I didn't want to see Howson move the #6 pick plus extra to do it (Filatov! Hooray!).

Plus, we've still got a few months to go before camp opens. There's still lots of time to get a player that can fill the #1 spot. He may not be elite, but last year we had Peca as our #1 when he was healthy and Umberger is alreay an upgrade in that regards.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Good start to the off season. Now that Campbell will not resign with the Sharks, go get him. Also, isn't it aboat time for Brassard to step up??

Neil said...

"Hell yes" --well put my good man.


Anonymous said...

I think that realistically, we will go for Malone for our top six forwards. After that, Howson will seek D men to fill the voids we have there. I don't think he is going to throw alot of money at one player, such as Campbell, but spread the wealth around, obtaining as many players as possible to fill the many holes we have. Howson won't make a big splash, but like the draft, seek to make some solid moves to improve the team. Then, as camp opens, I see him signing a player or two on the cheap to help fill the roster out. All in all, he is doing a commendable job and building the foundation we never really had.

Sean said...

I hope Howson doesn't spread the money around; I hope he gets some big UFAs, Orpik, Malone, that Defenseman from Ottawa who escapes me, Campbell. Come on, we need the league to step up and take notice and we need to resign Hitchcock at the end of this season and he will really want to stay if he sees how dedicated the front office is.

And, oh yeah, let's not forget about inking the deal with LeClaire. All of this could go south really fast if someone tries to scoop him up as an RFA. I'm sure he won't get lost in the shuffle but it would be really bad if that happened.

wizworm said...

Yikes! Please don't make me think of some team offerin Leclaire a way out there RFA offer! He's had his issues with injury but he played a realtively injury free season last year. I don't want to think about what our team would look like if Leclaire wasn't resinged.

Matt said...

I thought this was a solid draft - honestly, I'm very impressed with Howson's first two drafts, especially if we start seeing players like Voracek, Filatov, and Legein making impacts.

I'm thrilled about Umberger - I just hope he's not the last big name for this summer, but the first. :D

#11 said...

The process is under way, but not complete by a long shot. The Jackets are still 3 players away from possessing enough skill to contend for a playoff position. RJ's presence should go a long way to adding some additional pieces in free agency but the transition game hasn't been helped just yet.

Liles would be a quality signing as would Malone. Morrison would be welcome to round out the scoring and veteran leadership.

Howson has a way to go.

Anonymous said...

RJ is decent. I still want Malone and another top 6 guy and we still need some d men. I would anticipate the jackets making one, maybe two more trades before July 1. I think they want to go to free agency needed the least amount of players as possible.

I am glad we didn't sell the farm for Marleau or even Jokinen. Plus, with the Sharks not being able resign Campbell, the Marleau talks were off for them. Jokinen--we'll see. Is he a good player on a bad team or is he the real deal? We will get to see more of him now that he is with Phoenix.

The 2nd rounder is supposed to be a hell of a player. Overall a seemingly solid draft by Howson et al.

Hitch resigned?