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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who is Howson eyeing?

Reports have Jackets GM Scott Howson in Ottawa last night for the Sens/Leafs game. Both teams are expected to be sellers at the deadline.

So whose he eyeing? Both teams have a number of players rumored to be on the block.

Leafs:
Nik Antropov, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Dominic Moore, Jamal Mayers, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Matt Stajan

Sens:
Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Filip Kuba, Chris Neil, Chris Kelly

Heck I might as well list the full rosters for both squads right?

Bottom line is that this is a great game for Howson to watch in person b/c its a large pool of players to scout in one setting.

If he makes a move with one of these squads my money is on one of two guys:

Dominic Moore
Why? He's a cougar whose contract is expiring after this season. The plays a strong north/south game and wouldn't cost a lot to obtain. He's another piece to the puzzle and would help compliment the middle of the ice.
Cost? 3rd round pick

Antoine Vermette
Why? A co-ed that would cost Howson more to obtain than Moore but this is a young versatile center/winger who wold certainly help the top 6 not for just today, but also tomorrow as he's signed for next year as well.
Cost? I don't see Howson moving a first but a combination of a 2nd round pick plus Mayorov type prospect may get it done. They could also offer one of their "defending" defensemen. A Klelsa/Methot/Rome type.

I know many of you are probably asking why not Antropov? Couple of reasons. #1 - If Burke is holding out for a #1 pick like he says he is then Howson will not bite. #2 - Antropov has played more wing than center and his game has been streaky. I think there are better fits for the same or less cost.

Here is a name you can cross off the list. From Pierre LeBron:

Olli Jokinen
Right now, five teams have serious interest in Jokinen (one year left at $5.5 million next season), but the Coyotes could also move him at the June draft instead. There have been rumors about Columbus being interested, but we can tell you that's not the case. The Blue Jackets are not interested.


There are just way too many red flags at this point with Jokinen so this is good news. Ask yourself this question? Why would the Coyotes want to trade a 30 year old center in his prime who is their second leading scorer who still has a reasonable 1 year left on his contract 5 months after acquiring him? Big centers in their prime are like gold in this league.

I know there is financial problems in Phoenix but something stinks with Olli.

From the same article he mentions the Jackets' interest in Tim Connolly:

Tim Connolly
Contract talks continue between the Buffalo Sabres and Connolly's camp (UFA July 1). We're told the Jackets like him, but the Sabres may not necessarily move him even if they can't sign him. After all, they want to make the playoffs.

I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again -- if Connolly is available and the price is reasonable this is a risk I believe Howson has to take. I know he's one hit away from the end of his career but his skill level is exactly what we need in the top 6 and on the PP. The Jackets aren't going to find the perfect center as teams just don't part with those kinds of players.

If its Klesla or a 2nd round pick I pull the trigger.

Its really heating up out there. Bill Guerin was scratched tonight and has apparently approved a trade which has yet to be announced. Its believe to be to a Eastern Conference team -- Washington seems to be thought here. The other big rumor is that the Boston Bruins are expected to acquire Chris Pronger.

3 days til the deadline.... and I still can't get enough of this actually "being a buyer" thing.

I'll have some pre-game thoughts on Vancouver a little later today. Just another game that is the biggest in Jackets history.. ho hum!

-LTL

6 comments:

Tom said...

Hey LTL- I enjoy reading your blog, however, I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you use the word "co-ed". When I think of this word, I typically think that is refers to college aged women, or an educational situation where men and women are together. To me, it doesn't make sense to refer to hockey players as "co-eds", but maybe I'm missing something? This is my first season following the Jackets, and it has been quite a wild ride.

Tom

Rick said...

Tom, this post will explain the "co-ed" thing for you.

http://lightthelamp.blogspot.com/2009/02/is-howson-into-centerfolds.html

jemhuff said...

Another "knock" (in my opinion) against Antropov is that he's a UFA after this season. Giving up a 1st rounder for someone who might not want to stick around after this season is aweful steep.

Hitch Rules said...

Tom: Some examples -

Centerfolds: Bouwmeester, Gaborik

Co-Ed: Vermette, Jordan Staal

Cougars: Tkachuk, Recchi

Costco: York, Jackman

Hope that helps!

Hitch Rules said...

Hot (potential) news flash! Puck Rakers is reporting the following:

http://blog.dispatch.com/cbj/2009/03/leclaire_to_ottawa.shtml

LeClaire for Vermette might be a' brewin'.

I'd been suggesting this one for months, now, on another site, only to have some knucklehead hockey (OSU student) journalist wannabe tell me how ridiculous that was, and that he, and not I, knew their hockey.

Yeah, what's my name?

- Hitch Rules, AKA Scott Howson's trade and spiritual advisor (lol)

LTL said...

That's certainly an interesting development HR.

If they make that move then obviously they beleive Mason truly is the goalie of now and they aren't worried about this season being a fluke.

I honestly don't think he is a fluke as his combo of size, composure, athletiscm and demeanor is exceptional....*but* then we have to remember the Blain Lachers and Jim Carreys of the past.

I like the value though and I LOVE the idea of Vermette in the mix here. I think he would be a fantastic addition to this roster.

If this deal were to go down I would hope Howson brings in a more capable backup...nothing against Dubie but he ain't one.

-LTL