directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: As patient as a turtle

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Monday, July 27, 2009

As patient as a turtle

An interseting line via the Dispatch about Scott "the turtle" Howson's pursuit of a puck moving defensemen:

The Blue Jackets, according to Howson, are poised to start the season with the six defensemen they have on the roster -- the same six as last season. Howson believes that Blue Jackets minor-leaguers Mathieu Roy, Grant Clitsome and Nick Holden are viable candidates to fill the No. 7 spot, or he could wait to claim a veteran player off waivers in late September.

The Jackets certainly could go into the season with their current group but I just don't see that happening. They need another puck mover on D to assist in taking that next step. Howson knows it, Hitch knows it.. heck, everyone knows it.

At the same time I agree completely with Howson's position on this.

Howson's position of strength is that he doesn't have to make a move -- unlike some of the cap strapped teams out there. He has a full team that he can take into the regular season "as is" and fully expect them to contend for a playoff position.

Would he like to upgrade? Of course. He's admitted as much publicly on multiple occasions.

No reason to force a deal however. Deals that are forced GM's typically regret.

Despite this posturing I fully expect some kind of deal to be made between now and camp. Howson has shown he isn't shy about making a deal if it is the right deal.

No interest in Zubov? From the same article in the Dispatch:

Despite the obvious connection to coach Ken Hitchcock, the Jackets have not had talks with free-agent defenseman Sergei Zubov.

For a team that desperately needs a right handed power play defensemen to at least not have talked with Zubov is very surprising.. at least to me.

Couple of thoughts come to mind:

1. They want no part of a veteran defensemen who has only played parts of the past two seasons.

2. They have zero budget flexibility remaining to add any more unrestricted free agents.

Number 1 I could understand as they are more privy to Zubov's injury status than we are. However number 2 could be solved with a little creativity similar to what Boston did to make room for Derrick Morris.

Good news for former hockey Buckeye Rod Pelley:

The Sports Xchange reports Devils C Rod Pelley is excited general manager Lou Lamoriello has endorsed him as John Madden's successor as the team's checking center. "To come out public like that, there's a lot of confidence," Pelley said. "You're basically telling the player, 'You better be ready. This is your opportunity. It's in your hands now.' That's basically how I interpret that. That's what I'll be ready in September for."

We are definitely into the dog days of the hockey offseason. I expect some slow news days over the next few weeks... as slow as.....well, a turtle.



eplagge said...

Great article LTL,

Yep count me in for being surprised about the whole Zubov situation..
But then it also makes sense if you look at our roster... it would be hard to simply add a UFA D-man..

1 Nash Brassard Huselius
2 Umberger Vermette Voracek
3 Filatov Pahlsson XXX
4 Dorsett Murray Boll

1 Commodore Hejda
2 Tyutin Klesla
3 Russell Methot

1 Steve Mason
2 Mathieu Garon

1 Raffi Torres
2 Fredrik Modin
3 Jason Chimera

Quickly glancing.. the top 6 is set... the 3rd line center is set with Pahlsson... we all expect Filatov to be a bottom 6 forward... that leaves 4 spots... and according to AP a couple of weeks ago in his Q&A.... Hitch would like to see a Dorsett - Murray/Blunden - Boll 4th line.... a really good 4th line... cheap and effective... BUT That leaves Torres. Chimera and Modin fighting for 1 spot..

In summary we have too many wingers... we need to move a couple wingers to add a D... Modin and Chimera are the obvious ones to move... although Modin is probably unmovable...

Regarding whether Howsen will make a move... I would be very surprised if he doesn't... Chimera's name has already been leaked in a Chimera/Ehrhoff trade,,, I feel pretty confident Chimmer will be wearing a new sweater on opening night.. and maybe someone else will as well..

LTL said...

I agree however my thought was that it could be a 2 part move similar to what Boston did to make room for Morris.

Option A
1. Trade winger (Chimera) for draft pick/prospect/fringe NHLer.

2. Sign UFA d-man

or it could be:

Option B
1. Trade winger (Chimera)+ salary cap relief for D man.

Option A would be harder to orchestrate but as Boston showed, it's certainly not impossible.


snappy said...

Howson may be "as patient as a turtle", but I, like some other CBJ fans, am not!! But, it makes sense to hold out, I think. Something has to give for some of the clubs that are at or above the cap. In Howson we trust.

eplagge said...

Indeed in Howsen we trust..

I agree with you LTL maybe we can make seperate deals for Modin and Chimera and sign a UFA.. who knows..

They way I see it, Chimmer is gone... reasons: he's already been leaked in a trade deal.. he has a great health record, very easy cap hit and speed... this should make it easy to move Chimmer.. despite his questionable hands and terrible scoring instincts..

Modin... maybe we can get a draft pick for him... maybe someone will eat his 3M contract....

the Jester said...

LTL - I like your B option move there. I too think Chimmer COULD be expendable. BUT, remember last year Hitch was talking about how Chimmer was a guy he really liked, and thought that he had "30 goal potential". If not for injuries last year, who knows what Chimmer could have done?

Also, with all this talk about a puck-moving D man, does anyone know whatever happened to Derrick Walser?? I seem to remember him being the name before Russell came along.

the Jester said...

ps - still pitching for Modin to be gone. $3M+, injury prone... worth another year of hassle?

Max said...

There's like 6 teams over cap. Something has to give. And I have a feeling we'll be able to catch something delicious on the trade line. I still see Klesla gone...

eplagge said...

Chimmer is a guy who is expandable and has some market value... however I highly doubt other teams are interested because they think he has 30 goal potential..

Klesla is interesting, he might be available, but he really stepped it up in the playoffs... I really liked his play. Furthermore Hitch said during the offseason that he really thinks Rosti can take another step, and he's going to push him..

regarding Walser:

Walser was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Calgary Flames on 16 October 1998. He has played for various professional teams in Europe and North America, and as of 2008 plays in the Russian Kontinental league. Walser has played 91 career NHL games, all with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 8 goals and 21 assists for 29 points. He spent the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons with Eisbären Berlin of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga before returning to North America for 2006–07 with the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Before playing a game with Carolina, he was traded back to Columbus. In 2007 Walser signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs and played one season with the affiliate Toronto Marlies. After one season, he left the organization and signed with Chekhov Vityaz of the Kontintental league. On 05 June 2009 announced his coming back to his former club Eisbären Berlin.