So the trade deadline has come and gone. We’ve got three-ish familiar faces out the door, with four fresh faces headed to CBJ-land. In all, I think the Jackets fared well. While I may not have gone in any of these directions, I understand each deal and think each one represents good value.
In just an hour or so, the Free Agent Frenzy begins in the NHL, perhaps made a bit more rational this year by allowing teams and players to chat for a few days before actual signings can occur. Indeed, some teams apparently took liberties with the whole concept of “discussions”, prompting the NHL to issue a memo directing that all “offers” made before noon EDT today had to be withdrawn. Such is modern life — stretch the rule to the limit…then one more step.
The Coach has already presented his wish list of players, so I’m going to take a bit narrower approach here, focusing on the few players I think are realistic targets in free agency, and how that translates into reality under the salary cap. Let’s dig in.
The Budget & the Needs
Relying on our good friends at www.capgeek.com, we know that the Blue Jackets have 21 of 23 available roster slots filled, with $7,991,191 available under the cap for the outstanding two slots. Those 21 signed players include 12 forwards, 7 defensemen and two net-minders. That also includes Ryan Murray on the NHL roster, with a cap hit of $3.494 million, but does not include a roster spot for Boone Jenner, with his far more modest cap hit of $895K. So, if Murray does not make the big club, the cap space would be just under $11.5 million, but there would then be three slots to fill.
The curtain rose on Draft Day 2013 with more subplots than your average bodice-ripper from the Blue Jackets’s perspective. Would Bobrovsky be signed? If not, would it be likely enough to avoid a big deal for a net minder? If not likely, how would the club fill the void? What deals could be done for scoring help? What caliber of prospects would be around for the Columbus picks? Who shot J.R.? Oops, sorry, got carried away there . . . (If you don’t get it, Google it, kids.)
Scene I — The Bobrovsky Reversals
The saga surrounding the re-signing of Sergei Bobrovsky had all the elements of a Cold War spy epic — Russian intrigue, a mysterious, little-known agent, conflicting messages and predictions of dire consequences if a negotiated peace could not be found.
As Sunday progressed, the pace of the drama escalated, waned, changed directions entirely — twice — and was then followed by a long and uneasy quiet. While the climax did not come until earlier today, by the time the draft wound down at 10:30 PM last night, the outcome seemed clear. The Coach was on top of it all the way, as documented in his Draft Day Live Blog. Continue reading…
Draft, General Manager, Prospects, Roster Talk, Team Discussion, Trade News / 4 Comments
Hello CBJ fans! CBJProspects and myself will taking some time during the draft today to post our thoughts on all the picks, trades, rumors, and general happenings of today’s NHL draft. The Jackets are currently sitting on three first round picks, a wealth of cap space, and are now shopping the rights to Sergei Bobrovsky. With all that in play, Columbus looks to be one of the more exciting teams to watch on this fine Sunday. I encourage everyone to follow along and leave your opinions and/or questions in the comments. Check out all our thoughts after the jump, starting around 2:30 (unless something crazy happens before then). Continue reading…
Columbus Blue Jackets, Draft, General Manager, Trade News / 6 Comments
Welcome to my début here at The Union Blue. To those who followed me from Ten Minute Misconduct and The Hockey Writers — a big thanks — both of you. (I’ll still be chipping in with a guest article at THW from time to time, but The Union Blue is home.) To those just discovering my writing, strap in. I’m not shy about expressing opinions, digging deep into issues and counseling patience and perspective when the gut reaction is to panic. Thanks to all of my colleagues here for swallowing hard and allowing me to use of space on the site. Enough of that — on to the topic at hand.We’re just about 50 hours from the NHL Entry Draft, and just a week away from the beginning of free agency. The compressed timeline — brought to you by your friends at the NHL and NHLPA — will make the next ten days a tense and action-filled time. As Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson have been preaching for the past month — the options are wide open. That makes this both a time of peril and opportunity for the Blue Jackets at a lot of levels. While much of the focus is on the draft itself, and the three first round picks the Blue Jackets have stockpiled, I’ll leave the discussion of the draft prospects to my colleague @CBJProspects, who eats, sleeps and lives with that data. Instead, I want to focus on the other side of the equation — the trade and free agency prospects — made all the more intriguing this season by the advent of the compliance buyout. Continue reading…
What was proving to be another mediocre trade deadline left much of the social media based Blue Jackets fan base uneasy, concerned, and somewhat frustrated that new General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen had yet to ripple the water in trades let alone make a resounding impact on the Blue Jackets roster. With the playoffs remarkably within reach, and the brick by brick nature of Columbus’ rebuild, questions about players like Brassard, Mason, Umberger, and a few choice others’ pending future with the team seemed to be very much up in the air.
And yet the clock struck ten, eleven, twelve, and one o’clock without any major changes, not only with the Blue Jackets, but league wide.
Finally, when it seemed like today would be the ultimate “Trade DUDline day,” news started pouring in. Steve Mason would no longer adorn the Blue Jackets sweater. He would be dealt to Philadelphia in exchange for Michael Leighton and a third round pick in the 2015 draft.
Prospects, Roster Talk, Team Discussion, Trade News / 5 Comments
A lot of digital ink has been spilled over the last six months regarding the Rick Nash trade. It seemed every time a new piece of information became public, many in the media decided to take shots at Scott Howson. When it came out he asked for Logan Couture and Jeff Skinner, he was ridiculed. Nevermind the fact that you never start a negotiation by asking for the expected return, but with the best case scenario. Howson was further mocked when it came out that he was looking for two young NHL roster players and two prospects. This continued again last week when it was leaked that two NHL forwards were the pieces Howson wanted in return. After it was announced that Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and New York’s 2013 1st round pick would be headed to Columbus, the same people who mocked Howson earlier mocked him again. What the hell? Howson ended up with what he was looking for. He got a good young top six forward (Dubinsky), another solid NHL player with upside (Anisimov) and two prospects (well Erixon and a 1st). I honestly don’t understand how any respectable member of the media can mock Howson for asking for “too much”, then when he makes a deal for the EXACT price he was asking for, they mock him for making a bad deal?
As hockey fans know, Rick Nash was traded yesterday from the Blue Jackets. The trade officially brought the Nash era to an end in Columbus; however, since the original announcement that a trade was asked for in February, we’ve watched the slow removal of Nash from the franchise. It was subtle – no more Nash on the official website, his voice no longer implored us to follow the team during radio advertisements, #61 didn’t loom large over Nationwide Arena or the Columbus Airport. By the time Nash was officially “gone”, it seemed like he’d been gone for a long time. But this was Rick’s way. Quiet, under the radar. It was Rick’s blessing and curse:
After months of anticipation, a Rick Nash trade was finally completed by Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson. What was shaping up to be another standard Monday turned into a guessing frenzy as parts of the deal began to form on social media outlets. As is common on Twitter, frustration mounted as parts of the were shared over the course of the next half hour, thanks mostly to Darren Dreger of TSN (and his inability to convince his Blackberry to type ‘4’ instead of ‘s’). While the trade did not generate the ‘crazy high return’ everyone seemed to be expecting, the results of the trade were very much fair market value for Nash. It provided Columbus with the necessary pieces to continue the reshape of the team throughout the roster, along with a highly touted prospect.
The deal was as follows:
To Columbus: Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon, Artem Anisimov, and a 1st round pick (2013)
To New York: Rick Nash, Steven Delisle, and a conditional 3rd round pick (2013)
Many of our esteemed blogger colleagues have already ruminated long and poetic on the many complexities of the pending Rick Nash trade. What has been interesting to watch is the changing perspectives on this scenario from the non-CBJ affiliated fans and media. The headlines have long been “Rick Nash Deserves Better than Columbus”, “Trade Rick Nash”, “Rick Nash is Held Back by Everything in Blue Jackets Land”. But, in recent weeks, we’ve seen a new story line… “the price is too high”, “Nash isn’t that good”, “Nash is overpaid”.
Many Blue Jackets fans – even those who have long demanded Nash’s ouster – have seen this as a rallying cry. How dare we consider Nash to be less than the All-Star we’ve long heard him to be. However, battered as we are by last season, doubt has started to creep in and now, people are considering the possibility that Nash stays in Columbus. Maybe he just wasn’t that good after all, maybe we can’t get anything of value back.
So let’s strip the fandom, and the record, of our team away for a second and consider this situation. And let’s be careful to consider what has been shared as fact versus conjecture. What do we know?
- Rick Nash has approached CBJ leadership about being traded for the purpose of “bettering the team”
- Rick Nash has an NTC/NMC in his current contract and has submitted a list of teams for which he would waive said clause
- Offers have been made & teams have expressed interest
- Scott Howson will stand by his pre-determined standard for what is acceptable return for Rick Nash
- The Blue Jackets organization has an almost historic reputation for being tight-lipped about any movements and has often been known to zig when everyone is expecting the zag