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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jackets bring in PP help


Howson cashed in some of his cap chips today when he acquired 28 year old right winger/center Jason Williams for AHL d-man Clay Wilson and a 6th round pick.

Forecaster's breakdown on Williams:

ASSETS: Is gifted and savvy. Can put up solid numbers and works well with talented linemates. Is very useful on the power play and can even play the point.
FLAWS: Lacks size and supreme skating ability. Must play a grittier game in order to maximize his productivity on a scoring line.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top six forward.

All together now:

"Is very useful on the power play".

"Is very useful on the power play".

"Is very useful on the power play".'

Williams comes at a price tag of 1.1 million for the remainder of the year. The Jackets sent an AHL salary over in addition to a 6th round pick (I believe its the pick they acquired from San Jose for Jody Shelley last year) to Atlanta which clearly saw this as an opportunity to dump some salary on a player that wasn't working out for them. They are also pretty much out of playoff contention.

Williams will be primarily expected to help the 30th ranked powerplay. He's a right handed shot who can fire the biscuit (one-timer anyone?!?) and work the point on the powerplay. He can play wing or center but looks to be more effective on the wing. The knock on him is that he avoids contact at all costs, isn't great defensively, turns the puck over often and has only okay foot speed.

So far this season he's got 18 points in 41 games played and is a -9 --- 6 of those points have come on the PP. His best season was back in 05-06 when he played with Detroit and put up 58 points in 80 games. Those numbers can be deceptive well....because it was Detroit.

What interesting is that for being a PP guy he is only 6th on Altanta in PP minutes played with 118 minutes. In reading reaction from Atlanta fans from this move most have said that was a result of not finding chemistry with Illya Kovalchuk.

Williams will be given every opportunity to find PP success here in Columbus -- that won't be a question. The question is how will he use it and will up his overall competitiveness within Hitch's system --- he must become a 3 zone player.

This moves tells the fans the Jackets are indeed concerned about their lack of PP successs.. its says they are being active to address holes in this lineup.. it says ownership is open to doing what it takes to help this team get into the post season.. and it says Howson is not going to mortgage the future for a quick fix and that the price right now is to high for your higher end rentals (ex. Antropov).

This is classic Howson. A low risk high reward move (Tarnstrom...York anyone?) made possible by Jackets ownership upping the payroll for a playoff push...and it specifically tries to fill a big need now to help with the push without sacraficing for the future.

If it doesn't work out... the Jackets are out a late round pick, an AHL puck-moving d-man, an extra million bucks and Williams finds himself in the press box or on waivers. Minus that 6th rounder they still own all of their orginal picks plus the Avalanche's 4th rounder.

I like it and if the Jackets are still in the mix at the deadline expect another move or two. The question is how much more is ownership willing to spend? I'd have to think there will be salary going the other way in any future transactions.

Fire away - like the move?

-LTL

5 comments:

Shaggy said...

I like the move, I just hope this isn't all Howson has in his bag.

Rick said...

You know how Howson works...we won't know about a move until he's ready to make a move. Smart man. He still has a few tricks up his sleeve, me thinks.

SavaLuce said...

This sounds like a smart deal. And you can't emphasize the power play help enough...I'm excited to see where this leads to.

chunx said...

yea i like it alot... like you said low risk / high reward

if he can help our PP im all for it...

clay wasnt gonna make the big team anyway

KUDOS HOWSON

Chimera25 said...

I love the deal. Makes sense in all aspects. Wish he was more of a Center but the PP help is much needed.

I think Howson still makes two (2) more moves. One maybe, picking Sanford up off waivers and then another trade. We'll see.

I think this definitely takes the pressure off Howson and relieves the leverage Ol' Burke had on him up in Toronto.