directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Countdown to deadline is on like donkey kong!

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Countdown to deadline is on like donkey kong!

The Dispatch got things churning this morning with a good read on what the Jackets are looking for and what they won't give up come the trade deadline.

Some highlights:

Center or defensemen?
Barring an epic collapse in the next few weeks, Howson and the Blue Jackets expect to be first-time buyers March 4. And the No. 1 target will be the same that the Blue Jackets have tried -- and failed -- to hit since long before Howson became general manager: a center.

The Blue Jackets also could use a skilled defenseman with a right-handed shot, but it's not atop the list.

"I really like our group of defensemen," Howson said.

Potential targets:
Player Current team Age Remark
Nik Antropov Toronto 28 Great size: 6-6, 235
Radek Bonk Nashville 33 Dealing with division rival unusual
Chris Kelly Ottawa 28 But will he be available?
Matthew Lombardi Calgary 26 Knows Rick Nash
Todd Marchant Anaheim 35 Former Blue Jacket
Marty Reasoner Atlanta 31 Another Thrashers trade?
Keith Tkachuk St. Louis 36 Can be dressing-room distraction
Doug Weight N.Y. Islanders 38 Slow, getting slower

What they won't give up to get one:
They're willing to spend the money, Howson said, but they must keep payroll space available to keep their cadre of future stars. Steve Mason, Derick Brassard, Jake Voracek, Kris Russell, Nikita Filatov, etc., will need new contracts within the next few seasons.

Unless a stunning deal is dropped at Howson's feet, all five of those youngsters will be deemed off-limits in any possible trades.

I agree with him 100% that he should not deal his blue chip young talent. The core of championship teams are built from within with strong player development, top shelf coaching and then complimented with UFAs/trades/etc. There just aren't any shortcuts. Guys like Nash, Mason, Russell, Voracek, Brassard and Filatov are the guys who will lead this team to success.

Unfortunately for Jacket fans we are on rebuild #2 here since the first administration failed with rebuild #1 so its taking longer than it should have. Still Howson must stick to the formula that works when executed properly.

I'm also on board with not trading the #1 pick unless its a special offer. I've said this before but a market like Columbus and in a salary capped environment Howson has to keep the pipeline stocked as they must augment their lineup with cheap quality talent.... you only find that through the draft. There may come a time when Howson "goes for it"...i.e. takes a shot at the cup... but now is not that time.

I don't agree that center is our most pressing need. Its is certainly is a pressing need and I agree with everything they say about why this team needs a center but I think equally as much we need more help on the powerplay on the backend.

I watch teams with successfull powerplays and everything is generated from the points... teams do not respect our blueline on the powerplay because we just are not quick enough moving the puck and we are not getting nearly enough pucks through from the point. Pressure our points and more often than not the opposition is going to kill the man advantage.

If I'm Howson I'm looking to address both areas. He may not be able to get the pieces he wants to fill both holes but if you limit yourself to just a center then you may miss out on a better piece to help your club.

I'll have a fun look a little later about how I'm "classifying" this year's trade targets.

Assuming this team doesn't fall off of a cliff over the next 13 games it sure will be nice to be "buyers" for a change.

Also be sure to check out TSN's Trade Center page.

The trade deadline is March 4th.



Anonymous said...

I like the thoughts of Antropov, we need someone down low that takes up a lot of room, but a power play point player is needed as well. Nash is the only power forward on our team, with an abundance of snipers (that are not playing up to their potential, *cough* Modin, etc) that would really open up the Offense. I love our defensive chemistry right now, maybe get rid of one of our decent grinders for a modest point power play player with a heavy accurate slap shot)

Brochu said...

I think unlike other seasons, they really should trade their no. 1 pick. With so many good young players in the pipeline, now would be a good time to trade it. And if the BJs make the playoffs, the pick would be in the mid teens or higher, which makes it hurt less.

eplagge said...

Nice article once again LTL,

I agree with you 100%, I think we are going to see another Williams type deal.. a deal that adds a solid player at virtually no cost or risk.. in short a very safe trade (or as I like to refer to it as "pulling a Howsen", yes that is the complete opposite of "pulling a MacLean")..

I don't think we will add that true #1 center or PP person.. also good to point out that the #1 center could also be our #1 PP guy.. there are centers that add a lot to the PP...(Staal and Arnott come to mind)

Now I would like to stir the pot once more... Listening to the Coaches show on Wednesday they had the TSN analyst on, Darren Gordon I believe... (could be some other dude)..

Rimmer brought up the Trade deadline TV show on TSN, Hitch first asked Darren about LeCavelier.. talks a bit about Vancouver and the cap.. . Darren finishes up that section with:

"You still have teams like the CBj very much in the playoff picture that are going to do whatever they can to improve to give them that extra edge"

Then Hitch's second question out of the blue... "what's your thoughts on what's gonna happen in Ottawa"

Ottawa wasn't mentioned up until that point at all..

Now according to the dispatch earlier that morning Priest/Howsen and Hitch had a closed door meeting.. Dispatch: "The Blue Jackets' hierarchy -- president Mike Priest, general manager Scott Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock -- sat in Hitchcock's office for a long meeting after practice yesterday. (Wednesday) "

The personnel in this meeting is a strong indicator to me that they discussed potential trade opportunities... With this meeting FRESH in his mind.. Hitch asked that question...

Remember Ottawa and the CBJ swapped a lot of scouts through the season...

Let the rumoring begin.. is it Vermette ?? Kelly ?? or perhaps the very unlikely Spezza ??