All-Blogs.net directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: The Vermette dilemma

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Vermette dilemma


I've read quite a bit lately on a debate over on HF regarding fans arguments to and for trading this year's 1st round pick to Ottawa for Antoine Vermette.

For those unfamiliar with Vermette he's a 26 year old winger/center who notched 53 points last season for Ottawa. He's an un-signed restricted free agent and scuttle butt has it that Ottawa is not willing to pay what he would command so its thought that he's on the trading block.

Vermette filed for arbitration which makes him ineligible for teams to sign him to an offer sheet so any thoughts of Vermette in the bug would have to come via trade.

With an obvious hole at center in the Jackets' top 6 Vermette would certainly make sense for the CBJ. Sure Brassard could step in but many Jacket fans aren't willing to risk the season on yet another young stud who may or may not deliver -- they want proven bodies.

Quite frankly after 7 years of losing who can blame them right?
Assuming for a bit that Ottawa does want to move Vermette would the Jackets be interested?

I would say of course but the problem is two fold - what to give up and can the Jackets afford him?

In term of assets to give up many Jacket fans are willing to part with this year's first round pick -- some are not. I would say Howson is in the "not" camp for now and I would agree with that.

Why?

A couple of reasons.

I know even 1st round draft picks can be crap shoots (see Brule/Picard) but until we know what kind of team we've got here you can't risk trading away what could be a top 10 pick in a very deep draft.

That's not to say Howson is against trading the pick but if for some terrible reason the Jackets find themselves in the lottery again a top 5 pick will return you a much better player than Vermette.

Of course some would then say well trade it now and get Vermette and you won't be a lottery team.

He certainly could but what if he isn't? Would Vermette really be the difference on this team to push it from a non-lottery team to a the brink or in the playoffs?

I don't think so.

Lets be honest here I love Vermette and he is a very good player but he's not elite. If the asking price for Vermette is a 1st rounder than I just can't see Howson parting with that asset now. That's not to say he won't move it eventually but I think he waits until he sees exactly what he's got with this squad as is.

If Howson hadn't been active until now I could see taking the risk on dealing that pick now. However with 6 new faces plus Brassard & Voracek that's clearly not the case. Sure we can guess where the holes are but we won't know for sure until Hitch molds this group and season play kicks in.

For all we know perhaps when it shakes out we discover we need more defensive help than we need a top 6 player. Then what do we trade to fill that hole?

Also as the season rolls on perhaps a guy like Klesla becomes expendable if guys like Rome/Methot/Clitsome/Sigalet/Holden prove step up their games thus giving Howson more bullets to play with.

Keep in mind as well that Howson is going to need some ammunition at the trade deadline and there is nothing better than draft picks as currency at that time of the season. If he deals those picks now what does he use to add those players we were all so disappointed he didn't pick up last season?

We also can't forget that no matter what Howson or ownership says publicly there is a budget number that this team will stick to. I really believe that. That number is believed to be between 48 - 50 million. By my count Howson has 21 players signed to 44.335 million. Pencil Leclaire in for 4 mil and your already at 48+ mil.

Unless ownership ups the budget (don't hold your breath on that) Howson will have to swing a deal that will have money going out the other way. Quite frankly we don't have a lot of roster assets that 1. we are willing to part with and 2. the ones we would part with anyone would want.

I will say in ownerships defense that this is by far the most money they have ever committed to a Jackets roster and I fully believe that if this team is in the hunt come deadline time Howson will get the green light to go out and get what it takes to put this team in the playoffs.

For now though I think they take this group into camp and Howson saves his picks to use in-season if at all. If somethign falls into his lap sure he'll make a move but its unlikely. For me I'm okay with that plan.

Here are some more interesting CBJ
schedule points that I read here. This guy does a fantastic job of breaking down the schedule every season.

* The Jackets play the most back to backs of any team in the NHL at 20. St. Louis is second with 19. Colorado is lowest with only 8.

* The Jackets will travel the 13th most of any NHL team at 67,964 kilometers. That is an 833 kilometer increase over last season. The New York Islanders travel the least amount at 45,235.

* 12 of the top 15 that travel the most are in the West.

* Columbus is tied for 6th overall in the league in playing 3 games in 4 nights. They do that 18 times this season. Carolina has the most at 21.

* Columbus is tied for 23rd in the league in terms of longest home stand with 4 straight. Colorado is first with a league best 8 game home stand. Rangers get the shortest end of the stick only having a 3 game home stand.

* Columbus is tied for 6th with 13 other teams with the longest road trip with 6.

Not sure if anyone caught
the ESPYs last night (I had an adult hockey league game so I missed them) but our boy Nasher was up for "play of the year". He didn't win but by all accounts it was some really great exposure for Nash and the Jackets.

Thanks for the comments about the Commodore signing yesterday. Sounds like a good turnout and that he was, as we've all heard, a very fan friendly player. If the FSN Ohio Blueline was smart they'll have Union Blue Mike Commodore Robes and Flaming Red Afro Wigs ready to sell by opening night.

Oh and one fan's comments I particularly liked was that when he asked Commodore if he could "go after Tootoo on opening night?" Commodore's response was "Yeah, I'll be after him all night".

Discuss - Would you be willing to move this year's pick for a player like Antoine Vermette right now? Or do you hold onto it to perhaps use later in the year? Or not use it at all?

-LTL

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would hold off on trading that pick for now. Let's see how this team shapes up for a few months before we scream about adding more.

Just a comment on the ESPY's: I really only tuned in to watch because of Nash, but completely enjoyed every minute of it. I was under the impression that Timberlake is a bit of a weenie, but he delivered big time. He was terrific. The whole show was very entertaining, the best awards show I ever watched.

If you haven't seen it, try to to catch it on the replay. Well worth seeing for sure.

It was cool to have Nasher there. He and the wings were the only hockey related nominees. Nash was voted for 'best play' and in a category with Eli Manning's pass in the Super Bowl, so unless this show was in Canada, he had no real shot at winning. The Wings were nominated for 'best team', but the Celtics won.

Todd G said...

I don't believe that Vermette puts us over the top. I think it would be wise to hold on to our 1st rounder and see how the season shakes out.

tom said...

LTL...Are you on the Fireballs or the Rox?

LTL said...

Tom - I don't follow?

-LTL

Erik said...

Gentlemen,

I agree with the post and the responses. This team is already shaping up nicely, and although Vermette would be a nice addition to the top 6 forwards, he wouldn’t necessarily add that much. Vermette in my opinion is a solid 2nd line winger/center, who would be a solid addition to a lot of teams, however we need a 1st line center (He could be a potential 2nd line center)… We already have a nice bunch of wingers in Huselius, Nash, Torres, Modin, Umberger (he will be a center of course), Voracek and potentially Filatov (Who I am guessing has a 50/50 chance of making the team)…

In short, we probably have to sacrifice too much to land Vermette. I am betting he is using this attention to lock down a long term contract with the Sens, because I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, that the Sens have a lot of Dough left… hell they might technically be under the salary floor… Vermette is just simply smelling the money..

Erik said...

BTW just to start a new discussion…. WHAT about all the Leafs fans and the Nash rumors ?? For example (Today on the bleacher report):

A possibility is a trade. Look for the Leafs possibly going after Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets. It has been rumoured around Columbus that the Canadian native is not happy were he is playing at the moment, and would like to play elsewhere. But for a player of his stature, Toronto would have to sacrifice at least two top forwards and a draft pick, and money.
Rick Nash would be a great fit in Toronto, but what two forwards would Toronto trade, just to have Nash on the team?
I could see Toronto getting rid of forwards Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Steen, two respected players in their own rights, a second round draft pick and of course money.
Its is obvious that Toronto is rebuilding, but you have to wonder that if Sundin decides not to return to Toronto, the leafs will have some serious troubles this year putting the puck in the net.


My questions to the LTL readers… A. Do you believe Rick Nash is unhappy in Columbus… and B. Do you think Howsen will consider a Nash trade ?? (Remain open minded, we could get a lot in return for Nash)

LTL said...

Hey Erik,

I think that is just Toronto fan-boy baseless speculation.

I mean everyone is speculated to want to go to Toronto according to their media and their fans right?

I have not heard from anyone anywhere that Nash is even remotely unhappy in Columbus. In fact I've heard the opposite.

..and lets be honest here, Columbus is a lot closer to winning at this point than Toronto when you take into account the youth, the leadership and the plan. Toronto still can't decide if they want to blow it all up and rebuild or reload.

Now that's not to say that if this team continues to lose over the next two seasons and that when his contract comes up for renewal he may want out but for now this is his team, he is the captain and I fully expect it to stay that way for years to come.

I think he finally sees that things are pointed in the right direction and wants to be a part of the success in this market.

-LTL

Anonymous said...

No, Nash is not unhappy. He is invigorated. He is extremely happy with the off-season moves. They added solid NHL players, skill, depth, AND they also provided him with help in the locker room (Commodore, Peca, Huselius) which is also what he desperately wanted/needed. What is to be unhappy about?

Like ltl said, if the team continues to flounder, I could see him wanting to go elsewhere come contract time, however, does anyone honestly see that happening?

There are some forwards on Toronto that I wouldn't mind having--Antropov, Ponikorovsy, Steen are among them, but for the price of Nash? Gimme a break. That writer is doing what pretty much every (except you of course ltl ;) other blogger does: throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Unfortunately for him, it ain't gonna happen.

Erik said...

I completely agree, sure this is just fanboy talk… no discussion. (I just posted the fanboy gossip after the 10th post about this subject.. they are getting desperate in Toronto)
However if there is any team in the league that is desperate enough to do it, it would be Toronto. That to me makes for interesting gossip. Especially since the league seems to be settling down, I don’t see any more trades going down. Except for the Blackhawks trying to dump Habibulin, good luck Chicago.

I guess what I am trying to say is… drop the puck already….

LTL said...

Erik,

Oh yeah - at this point in the offseason we'll grasp at just about anything to debate.

Of course when in doubt we always have a Russian to debate in central Ohio!

How many days til camp :( ugghh..

-LTL

markislander said...

I don"t know if any of you herd on the rock the morning but they had commodore there, and he said the money is what really brought him here, but he said you never know what could happen.When he was in Carolina they were ranked 28 and they won the cup,so you never know.As for me on the Vermette deal not to sure i mean this has to be the year for them to make the playoffs or do you think anyone next year will come here to play,i don"t think so. And for Nash you play hockey to win a cup and if this team has know shot in doing that don"t think he won"t want out i don"t care if your a franchise player or not he want"s to win not saying Toronto would be the place but he will go where theres a shot of winning.

Slash said...

I'd be pro Vermette for the following reasons:
1. He's a center 2. He can create his own offseason 3. He is solid at faceoffs. 4. He is shifty and fast 5. He is responsible defensively 6. He is a Hitchcock type of player.

IMO Vermette gives us the best shot at playoffs next year. Chances are we will continue to have a hard time luring FA to C-Bus so we will have to trade for a #1 center at some point. Starting with a #1 pick would actually be considered cheap.

Players this perfect for our system do not come available this often. If another team makes a move for him, it could be 5 or 6 years before he hits the market again.

If Howson is reluctant to deal the first pick because he's not sure how good it will be, then that is a problem. Deal the pick, tell the guys this team should be in the playoffs. Deal the pick because you think it is more valuable now than in the future. It also sends this message to the fans, we are in it to win now.

Not dealing the pick could send a message that I don't want to risk it because we might not be that good.

The main problem with this is what do we have to trade later...? If we don't trade will there be a later?

At the end of the day would we be better with Vermette, yes.

Anonymous said...

I would hold onto the pick because on down the line towards the start of the season an even better center could become available due to the salary cap. or maybe a little cheaper of a center. Also if Howson does believe, like alot of the fans, that Vermette pushes the team to the next level then what does that say about his oher moves?? It pretty much shows that he has no confidence in his other signings and trades. But i'm not in charge and I have faith in Scotty Howson. Kind of off the topic, but I would keep a close eye on Chrsitian Backman. To me he seemed kind of like a throw-in to offset fritsche in the NYR trade, and he is due 3.4 million i think. So i'd say that if he doesnt perform then he could be on the move, possibly in a package deal.

Any thoughts anyone???

Anonymous said...

slash-You honestly think that unless we get Vermette, we won't make the playoffs? Geez, what idiots Howson et al, are eh? Making all those moves and then stopping just short of the one guy who will be our difference maker. Sheesh.

I am pretty sure that they feel very comfortable with our moves and if they felt that he was the difference maker, he would be ours already. Vermette is a good player, but he ain't all that. Yep, if he goes elsewhere, we might not have another crack at him for 5 years, but by then, Brassard could be our guy, OR Filitov, OR Lombardi, OR Jordan Staal, or_______, or ________, or _______. Get my point? Vermette is not the end all, be all. He would help for sure, but I am not convinced that he is a difference maker.

As far as him being a Hitch-type? Malone was far more a Hitch-type guy than Vermette.

markislander said...

The only thing with this is we could use Vermette,im just don"t think Brassard is going to put up the numbers we need to help us get in,and for Malone not worth the price and Huselius i think will fit better hear and he will put up better numbers.

Slash said...

What I am saying is that we haven't directly addressed our offense problems. Umberger is an untested top line center and Brassard is a rook and I've never seen him win a faceoff. I'm saying the team as is, will be around 8-12 at the deadline. We are not a slamdunk playoff team. Vermette would address many of the holes in our organization. A skilled centerman with speed and can win faceoffs. He's also great in the SO.

What exactly is the plan if Brassard doesn't fly and one of Modin/Huselius/Umberger/(GASP)Nash get hurt? That is not unrealistic. We have zero scoring depth, zero. IMO Vermette would instantly give us two legit scoring lines. (Something we do not have right now).

IMO we add nothing to a top six which was a top concern. It still is a concern and the concerns would be answered if Vermette were on board.

You mention Malone, but I think you miss my point. Zherdev didn't fly because he didn't fit in the system... imagine Zherdev skill that DID fit in the system AND is a center. Malone is by no stretch a playmaker. A team of powerforwards would not score many goals.

YES, Vermette would increase our chances of making the playoffs. I wouldn't even blink.

markislander said...

Im with you on the Vermette thing im just saying somone said Malone would be a better player for Hitch we don"t need him or would i wan"t his contract, Huselius is a better play maker for Nash and can score and will fit good hear.But do we wan"t to give up somthing now,thats my only question it"s a hard call.

Mattlund said...

I'm in the "get Vermette" camp.

I also think Nash is very comfortable in Columbus. Particularly with the size (or lack thereof) the media. He seems to be a very shy guy (still) and even the small (in comparison) attention he gets here in Columbus it seems to make him somewhat uncomfortable. I don't know how Nash would react in a larger, more hockey-centric media circus like Toronto.

Nash only has to talk to 6-8 reporters on a typical night in Columbus for a few minutes after each game. Just how he likes it, I think.

Anonymous said...

Offense, although was a concern of the team, it was not THE concern. Obviously in your mind it was. The bluejackets management did a hell of a job bolstering up our defense and our offense. We added scoring in both departments.

'In your opinion' we haven't addressed a top 6 concern, but that isn't reality at all, just your opinion.

I don't disagree, it would be nice to have Vermette, but I don't think we need to make that move yet. I also think it is daft to assert that he is the 'key' to us making the playoffs--just ridiculous.

What team in the west IS a lock to make the playoffs outside of say: the wings, the stars, maybe the ducks??? Outside of that, it is going to be a rat race, and we will be right in the mix.

You are kidding about Vermette having Zherdev-type skill right, because he doesn't.

What the jackets needed more than anything was competitive players. We added 5-6 of them. The last time RJ scored 20 goals was as a 4th line center with Hitch as his coach. Certainly it is a tall order to expect that he have huge production while playing vs. the teams other top centers, but will Vermette be that much of an upgrade? Last I checked he wasn't centering the top line in Ottawa either or playing vs. top centers in the East.

If Brassard can't cut it on the 2nd line, I am certain the jackets brass won't wait until the deadline to recognize that we need help. Just because a back up plan hasn't been posted in the dispatch, doesn't mean they haven't considered it. I am thinking they want to wait until at least Halloween to get a feel for where the team is at before they go out and spend another 4 million+ dollars. I don't blame them.

By then us, and every other team in the league, will have a clear grasp of where are REAL holes are, not your suspected holes.

Oh, and by the way, we HAVE addressed SOME of our offensive issues. If you combine the points totals over the past three years of Huselius, Torres and RJ, vs. the points totals of Zherdev, Brule and Fritsche over the last three years we have gained 145 points of production this off season.

A team of power forwards would not score many goals??? Yeah, it would suck to have 6 guys like Modin and Nash as our top 6, eh? ;)

I know what you are saying re: a level of skill, but the competitive level of our team has improved dramatically and if you compete at a high level, the goals will take care of themselves.

If ANY team's faces injuries in their top 6 or their star player, they face adversity. I don't care who else is on the team.

If we all lived in a vacuum and trading Vermette for a 1st had no consequences anyone would do it, but you haven't considered: the budget, the future, the potential of existing players, what Ottawa wants in return (they likely would want a roster player since they are also needing players).

I would take him, but I don't think we need to make that deal now, nor do I think he is the key to our playoffs. We both agree that he would help, but I am good with this team roster starting the season and then tweaking as we move along.

Anonymous said...

markislander--I merely said that Malone was more of a Hitch-type player than Vermette is.

I was a die-hard: get Malone person, but after how it all went down, I am very happy with the players we got.

I see Torres as a poor mans-Malone and RJ as close to the same type, but with better wheels. We essentially got 2 Malone's for the price of one!

I would have no issue if Scott went and got Vermette, but I don't think this is a 'make or break the playoffs' kind of move. He would help for sure, but I also don't mind if he waits to see how things pan out.

Slash said...

First I never said anything like Vermette is the key to the playoffs. I have said that we are a better team with a player like him. Therefore he does increase our chances at the playoffs, in my opinion for the next SEVERAL seasons.

Another pitfall fans are falling into is seeing the additions of Umberger, Huselius and Torres replacing Fritsche, Brule and Z. This isn't the complete picture. They are also replacing Feds and Vybes.

Before you jump on that point... think about what your expectations of those two players were before last season. Think about the expectations compared to the expectations these players.

My personal expectations
Umberger 08 = Feds 07
Huselius 08 = Zherdev 07
Torres 08 << Vyborny 07

I undoubtedly say we have improved our teams talent since the end of the year. I'm not sure my expectations surpass what I thought we could do with the talent we started the year with.

I do very much like what we did on defense, but is Tyutin and Commodore light and day better than Foote and Hainsey. Expectation wise I'm not so sure. Tyutin is definitely an upgrade, but he's not so much better it is ridiculous

Names and faces changed, we got a nice contract with Tyutin, signed Hejda, Chimmer, and Umberger to nice deals.

I do like what we have done, but to close the door on acquiring a player who not only makes our team better this year, but for the next 3-4 years... We are not in a position to do that IMO. He'd only command about 4 million a year which could easily be a steal in a couple of years.

Frankly the #1 pick of our is not enough to get Vermette. Yes he does have Zherdev like skill, IMO. Z never pulled off half the moves in a SO.

I have also said many times in other forums that next year we have 7 million coming off the books. We bite it this year and it easily fits in next year. We also could find a home for a player like Malhotra .


I've said in other places that this deal does weaken our assets at the deadline, but then again you have to overpay at the deadline and rarely get a player as young and effective as Vermette. You get these players when you can get them.

I see his value in his position on this team, potential salary, and fit into the system. I think the dollars would be well worth it in his case. Part of the new NHL is monopoly and getting your players to exceed the value of their contracts. He'd be a candidate IMO.

markislander said...

All im saying is that we need to make the playoffs this year.We are the only team that has not made it.I know not to give everything away and i wan"t to see how we start out, don"t wan"t it to be to late thoe.

Anonymous said...

slash--you said: "Vermette gives us the best shot at the playoffs this year."

Is that to say that if we DON'T get him, we won't make them? I disagree.

I don't think anyone would disagree that he would help, but I also don't think he is a make or break guy.

I agree that he would be a great addition, but without knowing several things (that you can bet Howson is very clear on) you can't just assume because this deal DOESN'T get made, that it is because Howson et al, don't think we need him. I believe there are a lot more things to consider than a bulk number that 'comes off the books for next season'.

As far as your comparisons-they are merely your opinion on where each player will be. That's all. I believe the forwards we added are a huge upgrade over not only Brule, Fritsche, Zherdev, but also over Vyborny and Fedorov. Perhaps they may lack some skill compared to those other guys, but they gain in leaps and bounds in competitiveness.

Again, Vermette doesn't have the same puck skills as Zherdev, I don't care what he did in the shootout. In fact, I don't recall any player in the league handling the puck the way Zherdev does. I am definitely going to miss seeing that!

So you basically are saying that your enthusiasm that the team we are going to start the season with this year isn't any greater than the one we started with last year? If that is the case, I see your issue.

This team is 35-40%...if not 50% better than the team we iced last season. If the team we started with last year was adequate, why did we make so many changes? We could have retained Hainsey and Vyborny--resigned Feds as well, but we chose to UPGRADE. Which is exactly what we did.

I don't think we added any individual player who is 'ridiculously' better in any one position, but collectively we are a hell of a lot better equipped to match up night in and night out. Is it to a 'ridiculous' level? I don't think so, but we didn't need a 'ridiculous' improvement either.

I don't think anyone is closing the door completely, but if Howson felt like Vermette was a guy we needed, and it fit and it was something we could do, he will do it. He is clearly not adverse to making a deal. I like what he did this summer. I trust that he and Hitchcock feel comfy with their team, for now. This is a competitive team and if Brassard can't cut it a deal can be made down the road. No, possibly not for Vermette, but someone else will likely catch their eye.

It's funny--2 months ago it was all about Marleau, then Malone, now Vermette. There will be another player people will be pining for down the road!

Say they want a player. Who do we give up? Klesla? Brassard? Russell? Dorsett? Sestito? Filitov? No thanks. The only guy I would trade would be Klesla, but then again, he fits the mold of what you describe. A 'poor man's' Regher and a player who is tough to play against. You move him now and what if Rome isn't quite ready yet? You fill one hole and create another.

If it were as black and white as you make it, then sure--do the deal!

ltl should do the over/under for who that will be!

LTL said...

Great coversation! Good points by everyone.

Another reason Howson may hold off making another deal is to see what Brassard/Voracek/Filatov have in camp. If two of those players show they can make a difference and compliment what we have in place we will be in good shape.

I don't want to rely on rookies but damn it we are due to have at least one make an impact and at some point a rookie has to be a rookie.

If its clear a guy like Brassard is not ready then Howson will make a move. He knows as well as anyone how important this year is to the Jackets franchise and he has proven enough to me this offseason that he won't just sit on his hands if a move needs to be made.

This won't be your typical team that Columbus rookies have been introduced to either. They will be insulated by solid competitve NHLers in a good locker room with a coach and management team who won't set them up for failure. They won't be thrown to the wolves or counted on as first line scorers -- they'll have to earn that distinction.

Also we can't forget about Modin. He is like a free agent signing by himself.

All that said if Howson does make another deal for top 6 player I'm certainly not going to complain (well until I see what he gives up :)) -- I just don't think he will until he sees what he's got with this current group.

-LTL

slash said...

Basically I feel good about this team... about as good as the one we had last year. I definitely wouldn't say we are head and shoulders better. Add another top six player then maybe I consider changing my mind.

Umberger, Brassard, Torres each have question marks in their top 6 roles. We also have no insurance for any of these players.

I do expect that Howson will make good moves. I do trust his judgment.

On the flip side I can easily see us feeling comfy now, not so comfy when an injury takes place or someone under performs and then WISHING they made a move for Vermette, who most certainly will be gone by then.

I can't list 5 centers that I think is better than Vermette for this team. If Brassard flourishes then Umberger slides to a wing or Vermette slides to a wing and we are suddenly deep.

Patience is a virtue in some cases, but it also causes opportunities to be missed.

Howson can feel good today, but when Brassard goes 0-8 on faceoffs in the preseason, is physically overmatched and Vermette is playing for Chicago, how well do you feel now?

Anonymous said...

Well, that would suck to not be more excited about this team than the one that started the season last year. We are far more competitive, bigger, stronger, meaner, in nearly every position. More depth at the NHL level AND we have some good call ups.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is a Sens fan. Vermette played on the 3rd line behind Spezza and Kelley and sometimes Fischer. He also played a great deal on the wing.

He said he isn't a particularly great playmaker, nor does he hold onto the puck long enough. Mostly he said he was a good faceoff guy and a great pk'er.

Based on that Vermette would have a question mark on his ability to be a reliable top 6 guy as well wouldn't he? He also said that Vermette is reluctant to go to the 'dirty areas' and isn't overly physical and wouldn't be deemed particularly 'hard to play against' which is this teams mantra. He felt that Vermette, for as good a skater he is, is an underachiever.

"Howson can feel good today, but when Brassard goes 0-8 on faceoffs in the preseason, is physically overmatched and Vermette is playing for Chicago, how well do you feel now?"

The sky falling much?? lol!

What happens when Brassard goes 4-4 on faceoffs, spins off his competition, threads the needle with his deft passing, and is the top scoring center on our team (again) in preseason? Howson will be feeling very pleased that he didn't waste 20 mil. on Vermette now won't he?

Do we really need to spend 20 mil. on Vermette in July before we can see whose of the above scenario's is more realistic? I don't think so.

Erik said...

People, People,

Let’s be realistic here about depth… with the salary cap there are a lot of good teams that are GREATLY benefiting from young talent that is playing in the NHL with entry level contracts. Columbus, hasn’t had that luck YET… we are bound to have some luck with our young players. If Voracek, Brassard and Filatov play close to the same levels as some of the other young talent that is greatly benefiting LA, Phoenix and Chicago we are in a good situation depth wise, especially if you look around the league. IMO with players such as Umberger, Huselius, Nash and Modin on the top 2 lines we are creating a lot better environment for our young players to step up to the NHL level… We might even see a third line with Voracek, Filatov and Torres. If there is a CBJ roster that would allow for rookies to have a successful first year this would be the roster.

As for Vermette, sure he is a good player but he doesn’t address our primary need… a #1 center. Furthermore, I don’t think we can afford to give up what we need to give up to get this guy, who in my humble opinion wouldn’t upgrade the CBJ roster that dramatically.

I personally would be more interested to see what top 6 forwards will become available once the cap hits!! I could be wrong but, with the teams needing to dump salary we could potentially pick up a top 6 forward for just picking up the contract, correct??? Or do we have to send something their way even though they are dumping salary… enlighten me…

Furthermore does anyone have any projections one who is going to be kicked out of the door… I know the Flyers and Ducks are over the cap..

LTL said...

Erik -- that is a good topic. I'll look into it today and throw up a post on teams at or over the cap and who may be on the chopping block.

-LTL

Erik said...

LTL,

I think everyone agrees that 1 more top 6 forward would really make this a solid CBJ roster.. But even if the roster remains the same there is a lot to look forward to this upcoming season...

Anonymous said...

erik--yes, we can definitely agree on that. Last year, I felt the team was going to be better, and they were. This year, however, they are going to be competitive and just brutal to play against. I can't wait!

Erik said...

Can LeClaire get signed already... how much more time do we have.. and when is the cap due.... This waiting for LeClaire is killing me..

Anonymous said...

erik--don't sweat it. He will get signed.

Erik said...

Sorry, I am too excited for my own good… following the off-seasons of the CBJ and most of the league, I am getting too wound up.. I really feel that the CBJ and a handful of teams improved while others declined.. not naming any names northwestern devision…
Combine that with a new schedule that will cut down our division games while upping the eastern encounters.. and I am getting really excited.. A lot of non-CBJ fans look at the 1-3 records against most higher ranked western opponents as just that, they don’t realize that in the majority of the Stars/Sharks/Ducks etc.. games we got crushed in 1 game, won 1, and played 2 really really close games… I now feel that with this new updated roster we can get something out of those 2 close games instead of an OTL or L. Not even mentioning the close games with Hawks and Blues.. Which I believe we are about .500 with… I guess I am just too pumped up…

Jeremy said...

Erik,

I am with you. Ever since I found this blog, I have been checking it about 15 times a day. I alone will keep the page hits up! I cannot wait for this season, hopefully it will go as well as we think it will!

Anonymous said...

erik-I am with you! I can't wait to see just how tough we are to play against! It is refreshing to hear someone as excited about so many things CBJ as I am.

mrkislander said...

Im with you guys to im getting tired of watching the same games on the NHL netowrk,just wan"t to see some hockey.

Rick said...

I think everyone in C-Bus will be pleasantly surprised with the team this year. We all know the possibility of going from where we were at in April to the Playoffs. Stanley Cup? I don't think so...but stranger things have happened.

This team (Howson, Hitch, etc.) have made some of the smartest moves in their short history as a team. I keep hearing that we NEED a top-6 center. That may be so. But, I, for one am very happy with this team as it stands.

I envy all of you who will go to games this season. Remember, win or lose, you still went to the games. I don't think there will be much hockey shown over in Iraq where I'll be. This team will do much better than the pundits say.

My only request...drink a beer for me at a game this season!!!

Jeremy said...

Rick,

Will do. Also know that we appriciate your sacrafice.