directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: This and that

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This and that

Lots of talk from the 'patch about Ottawa scouts being a fixture in Nationwide this season. TSN's Scott Cullen weighs in on the potential of the Sens dealing Jason Spezza and for who:

Columbus has long been searching for a pivot to join Rick Nash on the number one line and the Jackets probably have enough pieces to make a viable offer if they are willing ot surrender some of their top young prospects. Say, for example, that the Blue Jackets are feeling confident enough in young goaltender Steve Mason, they could offer Pascal Leclaire, a top young winger like Jakub Voracek or Nikita Filatov and, to get the salaries closer, how about declining veteran winger Fredrik Modin?

My personal opinion is that I don't see any scenario where Scott Howson deals for Spezza mostly due to his contract at a whopping 7 more years at 7 mil per. Spezza could certainly help but at that cap hit it was also hinder Howson's ability to re-sign other players which starts with extending Nash this summer. Remember this isn't New York where Howson can ring the cash register right up to the cap.

With the early success of guys like Brassard and Voracek (who admittedly has tailed off lately) I can't see him dealing those young pieces -- draft picks is where your high end skill comes from and where you core is developed -- if you draft and develop wisely of course.

Instead I'd have to think any potential trade would be for a more manageable top 6 player in the mold of a Antoine Vermette who is signed for 1 more year at 3 mil per. has a great read on RJ Umberger's early struggles and recent success here.

"We sat down together and talked about it," Umberger told of a discussion he had with Hitchcock. "We went over the transition period and what it is like. He told me countless stories of other guys who struggled. We discussed where I could get better and we both agreed a few games on the wing to feel a sense of belonging, competitiveness and comfort level would help me in the long run."

"When I went back things were better right away," said Umberger, who entering Friday's game against Buffalo had 5 goals in his last six games. "I was going hard to the net in the corners and battling. It didn't matter what position I was playing. Learning how to play with Nash and Huselius, you have to know what supports them and how to make them a better player. In the first couple of games I found myself watching them because they are great one-on-one players."

The move really has seemed to have rejuvenated him although he found himself back at wing
again last night but also collected two more goals.

RJ is definitely playing now the way I envisioned he would when we got him. Just a solid NHL player who isn't fancy, but is effective and scores the blue collar goals.

He has suddenly found himself tied for 2nd with Nash in the team lead in goals with 7.

Pascal Leclaire was named 2nd star of the night with 36 saves off of 37 shots with a .938 save%. A well earned accolade.

Brassard is starting to really turn some heads. Here is the latest show of affection from The Hockey News:

Brassard isn't necessarily a late bloomer but it did take him an extra year to start making his mark with the Jackets. The 21-year-old was drafted sixth overall in 2006 and bounced between Columbus and Syracuse last season.

He spent the summer working with the NHL team's strength coach and came to training camp in the best shape of his life. Brassard is now thriving on a line with fellow rookie Jakub Voracek and veteran Jason Chimera.

It's helped that coach Ken Hitchcock has been patient with the two rookie forwards.

"We know sometimes we're going to make mistakes," said Brassard. "But we're learning and things are going pretty good right now."

I like this quote from RJ after last night's win:

“It was back to the grind with a lot of hard work. That’s what makes us successful.”—RW R.J. Umberger, after a 6-1 win over Buffalo on Friday.

Back to the grind? ...good way to put it....and he's exactly right. They'll need that again tonight to be successful against a hard working, hard checking, rock solid defensive club in Minnesota.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What are they nuts to trade for Spezza now? By all means, don't do it, keep Brass on the #1 line with Nash and let them gel, we are just beginning to see what will happen