directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Howson given green light

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Howson given green light

From Puck-rakers:

Permission has been granted from management to spend more money. This should be welcomed by Blue Jackets fans, and it now firmly shifts the pressure toward Howson.

Portzline then proceeds to talk about the teams that appear to be in the mix...most of which we've all covered here....but then he gets to this statement from a source close to the Leafs:

I spoke to a person tonight who covers the Leafs, an old friend and really good guy with tons of Toronto sources. He threw lines in the water and said Antropov makes sense. He has heard, however, that the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs keep going back and forth, that "the Blue Jackets don't want to give up anything."

This can be interpreted in many ways.

First thought that probably comes to mind is Howson is being cheap and that he should just do what it takes to get deal done already.

My first thought was this is classic Burke trying to bully Howson into making a bad deal. Remember Burke is a veteran GM... if I"m not mistaken he's on his 3rd team (Vancouver, Anaheim and now Toronto) so this certianly isn't his first rodeo and he knows how to milk a cow. He certainly knows Howson's position and urgency but lets not forget that Burke has an agenda of his own (tank, tank, tank!!) that he wants to start working on so there is some urgency for him as well.

I want help now as much as anyone but Howson has to be careful here... the last thing we need is an Atlanta-like deal that maybe gets us into the playoffs this season but back to the basement the following year. Think Atlanta regrets giving up a Brayden Couburn for Alexie Zhitnik back in 2006-2007? Your damn right they do. What about sending Glen Metropolit, 2007 1st/3rd round picks and 2008 2nd round pick for Keith Tkachuk who ended up being a 20 game rental?

Those are the kind of deals Burke is looking to fleece out of Howson because he knows the Jackets are in the exact same situation as Atlanta was then.

Howson can't and won't be that desperate..

Remember Howson has an ace in the hole here...especially with the news that ownership is willing to up the payroll. He's got cap space and lots of it...something most teams in the NHL do not have a lot of. That cap space is trade currency in this NHL and is as good as a draft pick. He must spend it wisely.

Yes Howson needs to add an player or two to bolster this lineup but if he's willing to take on a couple of salary dumps from teams that have fallen out of the playoff race then the price to acquire those assets will be reasonable.


...because as mentioned there just aren't many team who have the space to absorb them and teams out of it want to save those millions as well as collect assets.

Parting with 1st for a Nik Antropov 20 game rental is counter-productive. Parting with a Filatov or Voracek for a Kubina is a disaster.

Honestly I look for Howson to make a deal like the Caps made with us last season -- taking on a dump in soon-to-be UFA Sergei Fedorov for what was essentially a 2nd round pick in Teddy Ruth is a comparable. Impending UFA Brad Stuart was moved to Detroit for a 2nd and 4th is another comparable in terms of what I think Howson is looking for.

Now obviously if you start getting into younger players like Vermette or Jordan Staal you think a little differently as those players could become part of your core but Howson absolutely cannot get bullied into overpaying for impending UFAs.

I've actually liked most, if not all, of Howson's deals up to this point -- even the Zherdev deal except for the Backman salary dump part-- so I have faith that he can make some smart plays here. I think he's added quality players to this team while discarding the "disconnected" ones. He has not given up much future while adding quality for today.

Its time that trend continues.

The bottom line though is that its a very positive sign for the Jackets and its fans that ownership is willing to do its part to try and bring a playoff birth to Columbus. Now we sit and wait to see what Howson can do to boost this team for now.

Fire away - thoughts on the kind of move(s) you'd like to see Howson make?



roadman said...

It is a very fine line he has to walk. I read the opinions voiced in a number of other sites and a lot of CBJ backers want something, almost anything, to be done right now. But as you say that could be counterproductive. Howsen has steered a pretty steady course to this point, lets hope he can continue. Blake as noted is no push over. My personal opinion would be to go for the center first, Vermette or Staal would be my first choice, but this option is going to be expensive. Don't believe we would get either for picks and a bag of pucks, so who are we willing to say goodbye to? Voracek, Paz, Mayorov? plus picks? If not that, then you are looking a rental deal. So, which is the better rental? Weight, who will be cheaper and is having a good year but is strictly a one time shot, or Andropov who is having a not so good year but maybe can be carried forward?

The center problem has to addressed, but it doesn't have to be permanently solved right at this time. Brassard will be back next year so a quality, less costly rental for a playoff drive is an option. Leaving resources to address the D-man need.

At the start of the year a great deal was written about the Jackets not having the "bullets" to do everything that need to be done. Well now we have some. We have a real good core of young players, so it allows us to use some draft picks. And we have fortuitously saved some cap space. These are precious commodities right now. My gut tells me SH will use them well.

eplagge said...

First off, great article LTL.. love your blog... anyways,

Let's remind ourselves that Howsen is the complete opposite of DouggyMC...He's not going to take chances/risks just to make the headlines..

It appears clear that Howsen has the green light, we have cap space and we have some inventory.. Furthermore Howsen has been keeping the phonelines red hot.... scouts have been at a lot of different venues... it has become clear that we are browsing for some reinforcements..

However Howsen is a future first man, and rightly so... it could very well be that the deals are too steep of an investment... we could end up with no trades at all..

Howsen has made some good decisions so far without jeopardising the future of this franchise.. I expect him to do this again... I don't think he will be giving away a we can't expect to get a lot in return... it could very well be just Weight for a 2nd round pick..

Rick said...

I agree with you 100%. Any way you look at it, Howson is in the drivers seat. Burke will be Burke. Howson didn't fall off the truck and into a GM spot by being a dumb man. He won't be pressured and he's very smart, as he has shown us.

Honestly, has Howson made a BAD move yet? (Backman was a package deal & Nicky Z wasn't doing anything here) As you've said, we're in the drivers seat in this silly (trade) season. We have the money & the room under the cap to make a sound move. And if Howson has shown us anything, it's that he's a very shrewd coustomer when making his mind up about something.

I look for him to make a "SPLASH" with a deal, but we won't see it until he's ready. The time has come and I think we'll all be pleasantly surprised when he pulls the proverbial trigger.

BZArcher said...

I'm fine with giving Toronto our first rounder if it's part of a multi-player package. Something like Antropov AND Kubina for our first and someone like Kosmachev or Sigalet wouldn't bother me that much.

(Has everyone forgotten that we're surprisingly stacked with shutdown defense prospects? I'm surprised we haven't seen more proposals that see some of those guys offered up...even Golobouef might be a potential trade bait after doing some damn solid work at the WJC...poor kid. He'll probably always be forgotten after we drafted Filatov, but I've always thought he was a bit of a steal.)

For now, though, I'm being paitent and hoping.

JAL said...

Howson is smart, and is expert at controlling communication. You can bet that the word about the green light from ownership was only leaked after Howson felt comfortable that he was sufficiently in the neighborhood of some potential deals to permit such a leak.

Howson will not jump at a deal, but I think he also realizes that there is a value to being able to pull the trigger now, while the CBJ has some momentum, with 2 tough road games ahead and some injuries to work through.

I am a little surprised Filatov was not called up for the Detroit game. Maybe another night to showcase Mayorov? We shall see.

It will be very interesting over the next couple of days. Good stuff LTL. I'll let you know if I uncover anything else in my digging.

A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

I was also a bit suprised by Filatov's non-call JAL.

After digesting it a bit I can understand why...most of which is it would be pretty tough on this kid to throw him back into the fire at two of the hardest places to play on the road... don't want to kill the kid's confidence which should be riding sky after a great World Juniors.

Still though... with the lack of skill in the top 6 it had to be pretty tempting!

Great comments everyone.. love the one about Howson being no MacLean which sums things up a lot. Anyhow you all know your pucks and I love reading your thoughts -- keep em comin!