I think we’re starting to see the inevitable rivalry between the Rangers and Blue Jackets really emerge. With only 4 points separating the 2nd and 7th positions in the Metro and seemingly GMs that have each other on speed dial for trades, these games are getting to be ones you really look forward to as a fan. Tonight’s match up featured the bigger name former-CBJ roster in Nash, Brassard, John Moore. It was great to see the Jackets come out strong in the 1st period and establish an early lead after such a possibly demoralizing beat down at the hand of the Blues. I must admit I had flashes of panic as I watched the lead erode and overtime be forced but the Jackets were able to pick up the 2nd point in a shootout at the hands of a filthy goal by Johansen. Tonight’s 3 stars:
3rd Star: Mark Letestu
This was probably one of Letestu’s best games, I’m glad the local media recognized his efforts. That said, I can’t help but think that Wizniewski might be slightly more deserving of this spot. It seemed like late in the 3rd when the Jackets were getting pushed around Wiz took it upon himself to start launching Wiz bombs at Lundqvist and while none resulted in points they did generate some good rebounds and slow down the Ranger onslaught. With Tyutin leaving the game early everyone had to much a few extra minutes and Wiz put in 28 solid minutes, 8 of which were on special teams duty. At the end of the night, he had a 2 point game to show for it in the form of 1G, 1A.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ @ NYR
This is a game that has been marked on the calendars of CBJ players, opponents and fans alike since the schedule was released and it lived up to the hype. I was worried that some of the younger players who have never played under the lights of Broadway might be a bit awestruck by Madison Square Garden or that some the former Blue Shirts (now Blue Jackets) might treat this game as something other than any other game. Thirty-eight seconds after the puck drop, Matt Calvert emphatically informed everyone that he was anything but awestruck. Eight minutes later, Artem Anisimov put my other fear to rest. There’s a lot to be happy about after this game as a CBJ fan. Without further ado, here’s my take on the three stars as provided by NHL.com.
Continue reading Stars of the Night & Game in One Picture: CBJ vs. NYR
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?
Continue reading Rick Nash Trade: How the Pieces Fit
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:
Continue reading Rick Nash Has Left the Building
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)
Continue reading A Weight Lifted: Nash Trade Continues Reshape
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
Continue reading Thoughts on Rick Nash…and the Trade that Isn’t (Yet)
The Blue Jackets did not make this post easy on me. As we head into the beginning of free agency July 1, and look at the Jackets’ needs, we still have to consider the pending trade of Rick Nash which will almost certainly bring back at least one NHL roster player. Who will that player be? What position will he play? Will there be multiple NHL players? A couple of top six forwards coming back really changes the Blue Jackets goals heading into free agency. So for the purposes of this post, I will be considering the NHL roster as-is, minus Rick Nash.
As I currently see it, the team needs at least one top six forward, at least one bottom six forward, a depth defenseman, and an NHL goaltender. Preferably, they would add two top six forwards and one bottom six forward. On offense, this would push Vinny Prospal, Ryan Johansen, and/or Cam Atkinson into the bottom six, who could then form a third scoring line with Mark Letestu and either Derek Dorsett or a trade/free agent pick-up. The versatility of Ryan Johansen and Mark Letestu really helps with the flexibility, as does having Johansen, Atkinson and Ryan Russell on two-way contracts. Johansen and Letestu can shift to the wing, and Johansen, Atkinson and Russell could all be sent to Springfield if better options are added.
On defense, the selection of Ryan Murray solidifies the Blue Jackets top six for next season. Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski, Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Nikitin and Marc Methot should be locks for five of the spots. The last spot will come down to Ryan Murray, John Moore or possibly David Savard. I would expect to see Murray get a nine game regular season tryout before the winner of that spot is selected. Only one of those three should be on the NHL roster, while the other two play big minutes in the AHL/WHL. This would require a seventh defenseman for the NHL roster, one who would likely only play in emergency situations, or if the blueline is struck by multiple injuries. In net, a better option than Steve Mason is necessary. Whether or not that player will be better than Sergei Bobrovsky is up in the air, but someone needs to be brought in. For a better handle on their needs, let’s take a look at the Blue Jackets roster:
Continue reading Blue Jackets Free Agency Primer
With all due respect to John Davidson, it seems likely that Rick Nash is in his final weeks with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. Over the last few days both Canadan and myself have posted offseason gameplans that included a Nash trade. Dan’s featured Nash heading to Boston for a package featuring David Krejci coming back in return, while mine sent Marc Staal as the main piece coming from the New York Rangers. Both those trades are possible, but are only two of the hundreds of possible combinations that could plausibly be considered fair value for Nash. However, a large portion of those plausible deals should be avoided. Back in February, I wrote about what kind of trades work out when dealing a superstar player. Based on recent history, my opinion is that Nash should be dealt for a package featuring one major piece, a couple of other pieces to make up the value difference, and should not feature a goalie. While a goalie is still a primary concern, they are simply too risky when changing teams to be the major part of the Nash trade. The ideal trade would consist of Nash for a young star player that has not quite broken out yet, along with draft picks/prospects/young depth NHLers to make up the value. With this in mind, I went through the rosters and prospect lists of every NHL team to find the players that I think the Blue Jackets should target. With these players in mind, I then rated the interest that team would have in dealing for Nash, the Blue Jackets interest in such a deal, and Nash’s interest in waiving his no trade clause to go to said team. Without one of the following players returning for Nash, I would consider the trade a failure.
Continue reading Rick Nash Trade Targets
Rick Nash. The second overall pick. Goaltending. Defensive defenseman. Top six forwards. What do all of these have in common? I have talked about them ad nauseam over the last couple months. They all represent something that will change from the current incarnation of the Blue Jackets, to the team who takes the ice opening night. I’ve probably discussed hundreds of versions of the Nash trade; I’ve written two mock drafts; talked endlessly about Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko, et al; I’ve reviewed every UFA goaltenders statistics dozens of times; and spent far too many hours playing with the CapGeek.com Cap Calculator. So I thought I would take all that time and make it useful. I put together the moves I would make if I was running the Blue Jackets, including the Nash trade, who I would take in the draft, what free agents I would sign, and one more surprise trade that I like and I imagine every other Jackets fan will hate.
Continue reading Blue Jackets Off-Season Game Plan
A few weeks ago I posted my breakdown of the Blue Jackets scoring chances at even strength . Since that article has gone up I’ve spent far too much time working through the data for special teams. The results are not exactly what I was expecting and I am not entirely sure what to make of it. The effectiveness of Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu on the powerplay perplexed me. The ineffectiveness of Jack Johnson, RJ Umberger and James Wisniewski perplexed me more. The differing rates of scoring chances between Jackets powerplays and opponent powerplays put a wrench into comparisons. To combat some of these issues, I took a look at the rate at which scoring chances were converted while these players were on the ice. This painted a better picture of what players contributed to generating chances, as well as what players generated fewer chances but converted more of those chances to goals. Further, this analysis applied to shorthanded scoring chances was similarly illuminating. Again, many thanks to the awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon for compiling the full breakdown of the Jackets scoring chances. Continue reading Special Teams Scoring Chance Rates