directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Garrioch rumor

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Garrioch rumor

In case you missed it Ottawa Sens rumor monger Bruce Garrioch had this to say this morning:

It is believed the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets have a mild interest in centre Jason Spezza, but neither team has had serious discussions.

Not many teams can afford to take a seven-year, $49 million (all terms US) deal with a no-movement clause that kicks in July 1.

Under pressure to make the post-season and without Derick Brassard, Jackets GM Scott Howson would like to do something cheaper. Sources say they have asked Murray about Vermette and centre Chris Kelly and might be offering up young defenceman Kris Russell in return.

Russell, 21, a 5-foot-10 blueliner who is making $510,000 on an entry-level contract, has to prove himself at the NHL level, but is a highly-skilled blueliner with an ability to pass the puck. The Senators would like to get somebody more established.

Murray said he will keep working to try to get a deal completed.

"I want to do something," said Murray. "It's not easy."

I just cannot see Howson making a move for Spezza. 1. His salary is too much for t his market and 2. the price to pay to get him is something I don't think Howson is willing to part with and 3. I just don't see Spezza fitting in with this direction this team is headed as there are rumblings he's not the most committed player out there. He's as talented as they come but you need talent and commitment.

Now Vermette are Chris Kelly are guys I could definitely see Howson making a play for. Vermette is having a horrible year (as are most of the Senators)... he's only scored 3g, 5a for 8 points in 35 games. He's signed for this year at 2.5 and next at 3 mil before becoming a UFA. Now we're talkin.

Here is forecasters breakdown:

ASSETS: Has excellent offensive instincts, on-ice vision and soft hands. Is dedicated to the game and displays loads of perseverance. Can play any position up front, and any role on a hockey team.
FLAWS: Will need to fill out his 6-1 frame to thrive at the NHL level. Does he have enough upside to make an offensive impact in the big league?
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top six forward.

Still he's only 26 and has put up 53, 39 and 33 points over the past 3 seasons and he's a center. The Jackets are interested because of those reasons and he could be a classic case of needing a change of scenery. A trio of Umberger, Brassard and Vermette is a nice group not even in their prime to fill out the middle of your lineup.

The article mentions Russell going the other way. That is fair value I think but I just don't see how Howson could move his only puck moving defensemen who is really showing signs -- we need to add to Russell not subtract.

The question is does Ottawa want roster players back or prospects...?....because from a Columbus standpoint they don't have a whole lot to give from their current roster but certainly have some pieces to deal if its prospects or draft picks.

If its roster pieces they Jackets would have to deal from their position of strength which is at wing or defensive defensemen. Guys like Methot, Tollefsen or Klesla could enter the discussion... I think on the wing though you'd have to look on the farm at a guy like Mayorov or maybe a Sestito.

Regardless the early trade picture is starting to come into focus as teams are starting to fall out of it and will most likely want young prospects or picks in return.

The good news for the Jackets is the majority of those look to be in the east with Ottawa, Atlanta, Tampa and the Islanders currently sporting the worst records in the NHL. St. Louis is the only West team in that mix. It always easier to make deals with squads in your opposite conference.



Tom said...

We're going to have to give to get. Russell would be hard to lose, but the upside is worth considering.

I'm firmly in the "We should consider everything and anything" camp.

Rick said...

Prospects, draft picks, guys on the farm, yes. Trading Russell? No way! Just as we're starting to come into focus as a team, I think you'd want to add to the mix, not take away from it. Some players might do much better with a change of scenery, and I know C-Bus is starting to look better (albeit, slowly) to the rest of the league.

Plus, with the longer term contracts that have been signed recently, the chemistry of this team will only get better.

Hitch Rules said...

LTL: This rumor is even more curious...

Basically, Kubina and Antropov for CBJ draft choices...

JAL said...

Actually, this makes sense at a lot of levels. Burke is not afraid of going into rebuilding mode, and loves to stockpile young talent.

In this market, it is tough to trade contracts for contracts and get any predictable value. Too risky at the numbers involved. Toronto is not going anywhere this year, and Burke has been around the block enough to know that he can get some higher value draft picks now than later.

Antropov is in the final year of a 2 year deal, at a relative bargain of 2.15million. Kubina has 1 year left after this one, at $5 million. Burke can use that money, plus draft picks, to begin his rebuilding year.

From the CBJ perspective, we have a more immediate need for experienced personnel, and are almost overstocked with young talent. You end up with a logjam that challenges you from both playing time and salary cap perspectives.

Kubina and Antropov provide size, point generating ability and help at the point, for a combined price of what Spezza would cost. At 28 (Antropov) adnd 31 (Kubina), these are long term plays, not just a rental.

This, in turn, provides options to us down the line. In the off-season, top priorities would be signing Nash to a long term extension and re-signing Antropov. We could then do some interesting things, such as dangling Leclaire, Klesla or others for some depth and a resonably priced backup goalie.

Very intriguing. If it is truly only a draft pick play, I think it would be tough for Howson to turn down.

A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

Good stuff HR.

I'm souring on sending anything for Weight... I know he's a prob but he also sounds like he wants no more part of the rental business and to stay put which worries me about any kind of production we'd hope to get for him if strapped on the union blue.


soultrain said...


Mason has been nominated for fanfav player of the week. Thought you might like to pass the site along to everyone so they can head over there and vote to help him win. The site is He is currently winning with 37% of the vote and it was for his 4-0-0 week with 0.25 GAA and stopping 93 of 94 shots. Just thought I would pass it along

Chimera25 said...

Of these rumors I like the Antropov and Kaberle deal the best. Especially if we only have to give up draft picks. It is a win-win deal. We don't alter our current roster and get much needed help on D and a young C.
Perhaps Howson can mix Backman and Novotny in on the deal.
I would love to see Spezza in a CBJ sweater, him and Nash could tear it up, but that contract is tough to absorb.
Vermette would look good nice for the right price as well, I not sure if I want to give up Russell for him, but a draft pick perhaps.
Anxious for something to happen soon!

Chimera25 said...

Hey LTL,

What is Pittsburgh looking for to acquire Jordan Staal?

Now if Pittsburgh doesn't move him what do you have to compensate Pittsburgh if you sign him as a unrestricted FA?

There is no way Pittsburgh can re-sign him (with Crosby and Malkin) and he would be a great addition.


LTL said...

Hey Chimera25!

I have read some of those rumors about Staal as well.

If those rumors are true Howson better be right in the middle of those discussion. Staal is a big center who is buried under Malkin/Crosby... the question is if he gets those prime minutes can he produce those prime points?

The team that wants an answer to that question is going to have to pony up a hefty sum.

I think to get Staal your looking minimum at a first round pick or high end prospect + plus a low cost roster player to get in the discussion.

The bidding for Staal could get heated quick thus the price raises. Remember centers are a rare commodity in this league and everyone is going to view Staal on potential once he gets out of that two headed monster's shadow.

From a Jackets standpoint your probably looking at Voracek or Filatov + something decent from the roster.

I'd be tempted.. wing is our depth and I'd think long and hard about giving one up to get that young big center down the middle to go w/ Brass.