directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Crystal Ball v1.0

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Crystal Ball v1.0


* Rick Nash is re-signed to a 3 year 21 million dollar deal. I would prefer a longer 5 year deal but I really believe this re-signing will end up being on the shorter end.

* Malhotra is re-signed for 3 years 6 million.

* Peca, Williams, Rome and Backman will not return. Tollefsen and Novotny will not be qualified thus will be allowed to walk.

* Jared Boll is not going anywhere. Tom Sestito is not ready and the Jackets need the game he brings in the regular season. I expect a better year out of 40.

* Marty Reasoner is signed to a 1 year 1 million dollar deal to fill that 4th line hole. Reasoner finished with 14g, 16a and a +11 in 79 games for Atlanta last season. He was 52.8% in the faceoff circle and is a solid penalty killer who logged on average 3:33 in shorthanded time.

* There are lots of defensemen I considered when thinkin of who I would add to the Jackets group. As much as we'd like it, we aren't gonna get a big name like Bouwmeester or Kaberle for various reasons so I jumped down a tier or two. Some of the names I considered were Spacek, Oduya, Kubina, Zubov, Gilbert and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Some could be had in free agency for nothing and some would need traded for. After a lot of thought I settled on Marek Zidlicky because this team must absolutely generate more offense from the blueline. Here is Zidlicky's profile:

ASSETS: Is a major offensive threat from behind the blueline. Has a wealth of top-level experience and plenty of polish working the power play.
FLAWS: Lacks the size and strength needed to excel with big minutes in the NHL. Is prone to making bad decisions in the defensive zone with frequency.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top six defenseman.

Is a major offensive threat. That is exactly what we need. Zidlicky can one time the rubber out of a puck and is a PP force on the blueline. He noticed 12g, 30a for 42p in 76 games and is a right hand shot! The downside is that he finished a -12 on a very defensively responsible club in Minnesota. I don't think he's Bryan Berard bad but he is not strong in his own zone.

The other drawback is who to pair him with? I don't think you can break up Commodore-Hejda or Tyutin-Klesla so he's ends up with Russell which does worry me in terms of size and defending in their own zone. Methot is the 7th d-man who will see plenty of time.

Ultimately I think Hitch can coach Zidlicky up and we desperately need some firepower back their on the PP. His potential impact on the PP far out weights his potential defensive liabilities.

Zidlicky is signed for 1 more year at 3.5 million. Minnesotra acquired him for a 2nd round pick and Ryan Jones from Nashville last offseason. Depending on Minny's new GM and coaching situation they may be intersted in unloading him. I'd see if they were intersted in Chimera, which is doubtful, and then move on to draft picks/prospect. I'd start with a 3rd round pick and go from there.

* Got to find a way to dump Chimera as he is the odd man out of my lineup. It's not that I don't like him but the team is stacked at left wing and it was either he or Modin who goes. Modin has a NTC and I don't see the Jackets ponying up the coin to buy him out.

I'd shop him in hopes of returning a 4th line center. If that wasn't available then I'd dump him for a 3rd/4th round pick (to replace what I dealt to get Zidlicky).

* The Jackets sign Scott Clemmensen to a 2 year 3 million dollar deal. Goaltending is a position that you don't screw around with. As good of a season Mason had last year remember he's only a rookie -- he could experience a sophmore slump so you have to be concious of that. For that reason and the fact the Jackets flat out wore this kid out I don't mess around in pursuing a goaltender that can handle a good load of the season. Clemmensen played in 40 games for the Devils going a respectable 25-13 with a 2.39 GAA and a .917 Save%.

If the Jackets strike out on him there are a lot of goalies up for bid this summer. Anderson, Weeks, Conklin, Fernandez, MacDonald, Biron, Nittymaki, Gerber, Lagace, Sandord, Labarbera, Johnson, Roloson & Khabibulin -- surely they can nab one of those names.

* Marc Methot is re-signed to a 2 year 1.625 million dollar deal. .725 the first year and .900 mil next.

* Alex Picard is signed to a 1 year 2-way deal at .800.

* Two guys I'm keepin an eye on in camp are Alex Picard, Grant Clitsome and Maksim Mayorov. They could force their way into the lineup and as we always know, injuries will occur. Also keep an eye on Matt Calvert although he's probaby a year out from turning pro.

Your 2009-2010 Columbus Blue Jackets:

Huselius (4.75) Brassard (.765) Nash (7.00)
Umberger (3.50) Vermette (3.00) Voracek (.875)
Modin (3.50) Malhotra (2.00) Filatov (.875)
Torres (2.750) Reasoner (1.00) Boll/Dorsett (.550)
Extra: Murray (.625), Boll/Dorsett (.510)

Commodore (3.61) Hejda (2.0)
Tyutin (2.7) Klesla (2.25)
Zidlicky (3.5) Russell (.525)
Extra: Methot (.725)

Mason (.850)
Clemmensen (1.50)

Total: 49.36

This lineup fills some gaps. We get some more firepower on the blueline that should certainly help with the PP. We nab a capable backup who can spell Mase and could shoulder the #1 starter position should he go down with an extended injury. We get a 4th line center who can actually produce some offense and help in shorthanded situations. The key though will be the development of our young guys. Rick Nash should only improve on his career year last season. Brassard and Filatov will be like offseason additions and their skill is very welcomed. Voracek and Russell should produce more and last year's offseason veteran acquisitions should be fully acclimated to Columbus and it's system to hit next year's gate in full gallop.

There you have it. A lot simpler than the drastic changes that were made last season. You can view my previous Crystal Balls from that off season by following these links --> v1.0, v2.0, v3.0 and v4.0.

This is mostly spitballing to kill some time in the offseason but I have fun with em. I'll certainly have more versions as the offseason rolls along.

Fire away - what does your lineup look like?



Lainey said...

I think Nash will be resigned for five years. But who knows, really.

I sincerely doubt that Clemmenson signs with the CBJ, I think he'll go to Colorado or Philadelphia where he has a legitimate shot at being the No. 1.

Trading Chimera is wishful thinking, Hitchcock loves him and I don't think there'd be much of any interest around the league.

BZArcher said...

I think we most likely grab Anderson off the UFA market - I think Florida would like to keep him, but if they offer him too much, they risk getting into a bad situation with Voukoun.

Zidlicky could be interesting - I could also see Paul Mara if we wanted to raid the Rangers again. I think Hitch might be willing to break up Tyutin-Klesla if the addition at the blueline seems to have good chemistry.

Also, I know it's a bit of a broken record, but keep an eye on Jon Sigalet...

scioto slim said...

I love the idea of trading Chimmer for a 4th line center but Laineys right. Also Spacek has been on you lists twice you really think he can come back and help? And why does Hitch lover Chimmer? Why? Is he "the stick" like bobby hill on the cross country ep of KOTH?

Lainey said...

Speed + Size = Hitchcock's Dream Player

I think Hitch envisions armies of chimeras zipping around bouncing off opponents like bumper cars and occasionally putting the puck into the net in a "three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust" type fasion

LTL said...

Well something is gonna have to give on that left wing folks.

We have Nash, Chimera, Modin, Umberger with guys like Murray, Boll, Dorsett and Picard who can also fill that roll.

I think it's safe to say Nash, Juice and Umberger aren't goin anywhere.

So that leaves Modin and Chimera.

That is a problem Howson will have to sort out but my money is on one of Modin or Chimmer being the odd man out. We'll certainly see.

I not so sure I buy into the Hitch lovin Chimera theory. I know he's kind of a been a pet project of his but I actually think he likes Modin more for his size and ability to protect the puck down low. Plus he's got much better hands around the net.

I like Spacek b/c he's a UFA I think we can afford and he's pretty good on the PP. He's got a knack of getting shots on net and can one time a puck -- a skill we desperately lack. I also think he's a pretty good 3 zone d-man. Unfortuantley he's a left hand shot which is a reason I really like a guy like Zidlicky.

Again though.. this is just spitballing.. I be interested to hear your thoughts on players Howson may go after.

Anyone who followed this blog last season will know I threw all kinds of different scenarios to chew on as the offseason rolled along -- which I'll definitely do this year as well... I mean what else do we have to talk about right :)


JAL said...

Size and speed are a plus, but as Hitch so eloquently put it a year ago or so, "Chimera can't hit the ocean from the beach."

An overlooked, but very fundamental fact about the CBJ this season is that they were not very good shooters. I haven't had time to dig up all of the numbers, but our shooting percentage stunk, and that does not include the shots that went wide or high.

Early in the year, when the "Goat Line" of Brassard, Voracek and Chimera was in place, he showed some ability to finish ("finishability", according to Danny Gare), but that faded away, partly due to injury admittedly.

That's why I think Chimera will be a tough call. Also why I think Jason Williams will sign --- he is a natural shooter, and will be able to be had at a reasonable figure. Frankly, I think Boll is gone. We are a grown up team now, and we don't have space for grit without talent.

Just beginning my pre-draft and free agency analysis, but I do like the concept of Reasoner.

A Shot From The Point

Stephen said...

I think its great we can debate that we have "too much" of anything!

My call is the possibility of trading Juice, for a backup, picks, and role players. He may be the most marketable next to Nash, and it would free up $4.75M in salary to sign a #1 defenseman.

eplagge said...

OK, first Nash-er... he's a dangerous/scary player for me... quite frankly I am a bit scared... we all know he's a great power forward.. but more importantly he now plays a complete game (PK,PP 5-5, defense, etc.)... He would be a heck of a player to build or re-built your franchise around.. I think GMs love Nasher more so then the media and there might be an attempt to snatch Nash this off-season... my probability estimate 5%... Furthermore he's a young guy, he might want to switch things up a little bit..he might be getting a little sick of Columbus..... the one thing that eases my mind a little bit, teams that could afford Nash with their current cap


Not exactly prime-time locations.... but I am telling you I wouldn't be surprised if the Nash deal is the off-season talk on all the major other words it might drag on a while.. (gaborik anyone??) Other option, a 3-5 year deal that will be allow him to move when he is in his prime..the thought being that the CBJ is going to peak in the next couple of years with Brass, Fila, Vora and Mase...

As for the other players..I will put them in categories

Obvious drops/no interest:

Chris Gratton (too old)
Christian Backman (too flawed)
Mike York (too old, maybe Syracuse if he is interested)
Wade Dubielewicz (no confidence with hitch/team)

Retained for minor money (2-way players):

Alexandre Picard (They will keep him Syracuse for depth)
Craig MacDonald (Syracuse Veteran leadership)
OK Tollefson (Might try free market, or gets resigned in a Syracuse deal)
Marc Method (Most likely an NHL entry level type deal for 2 or 3 years, 2-way)
Aaron Rome (Syracuse, 2way)
Dan Lacosta (Syracuse, 2 way)
Jiri Novotny (Syracuse, 2 way... a depth player, might try elsewhere)

So that leaves:

Jason Williams

Peca, I have always liked Peca.. Good PK, veteran leadership, dependable and grit.. but he has lost a step or 3.. My preference would be to resign him for 1 more year.. but I believe this might be the end for Pecs in Union Blue.. Look for him to be doing 3/4th line duty somewhere in the eastern conference.. There is always interest for a player like Peca.(Buffalo perhaps?)

Williams, it appears I like Williams more then other people on this board.. sure he has drawbacks. He's not a physical player, defensively so-so.. but he improves our PP and has a skillset and hands that few other players on our team posses.. I think it's worth our while to retain his skill set.. he would be a heck of an asset on the lower lines...

Malhotra, I think we all have our opinions about Malhotra.. but in summation he's a Swiss army knife... a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.. Ultra versatile 3rd line center with a top 5 face off percentage.. and we utilized the heck out of him.... Howsen won't match what some other teams will offer for Versa-Manny and I am quite sure he will accept an outside offer.. I am predicting he will get a nice 3 year deal somewhere in the East.. 3yr/7M (Howsen won't offer over 2 per year)

patrick said...

Clemmer will command more $ on the market because of his play last year. agree with lainey, he wants a better chance to compete for #1. some team will overpay for his services.