|Gone but not forgotten - Tommy Sestito left his mark...|
literally...on the NHL in his nine games with Columbus.
In nine games with the Blue Jackets, Sestito tallied 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points. Looking at the perspective of the scoring-anemic CBJ, those four points are nothing to sneeze at. Sestito not only used his size to barrel his way through the defense, but he also appeared to be the "missing link" in the power play, setting up shop in the crease with such force that even the vaunted Roberto Luongo started complaining. One of the long-envied aspects of the Detroit Red Wings' game is the ability of Tomas Holmstrom to control the crease and make goalies' lives miserable. For nine games, it looked like we might have our own such player.
Sestito also piled up 40 PIMs as well on the back of some impressive enforcing and 4 fights in 9 games. As an example, take his final fight of his ride in Columbus, against Brad Staublitz of Minnesota:
On the community relations front, Sestito made his mark with a visit to the Columbus Ronald McDonald House on Christmas day. What a classy move with great intentions. The Blue Jackets always can benefit from more of this type of visibility by individual players.
Alas, Sestito was the only "marginal" (my word, not anyone on the CBJ's) player who could be sent back to Springfield without clearing waivers. I suggest that Sestito could be a marginal roster player, despite his aforementioned attributes, because the CBJ already have two pugilists - Jared Boll and Derek Dorsett - on their roster. And those two guys are lucky enough to have one-way contracts. Sestito? Not so lucky.
Regardless, I don't think we've seen the last of Sestito in Columbus. I say this for a few reasons:
- He's a pretty strong talent with size that you just can't get every day.
- The CBJ have 5 forwards whose contracts expire at the end of the season (as does Sestito's), and all five are for more money than Sestito is making. Thus, Sestito appears to be a nice bargain.
- While Boll and Dorsett are on the roster right now, their styles of play do not lend themselves to long NHL careers. Boll is in the unfortunate position of being a middleweight who needs to tangle with heavyweights (with scary results) all too often. If Boll can't find his scoring touch, he's got little else to fall back on than his fists. As for Dorsett, his "Tazmanian Devil" approach to hockey is full of fire and makes him a fan favorite, but it's pretty clear that he can't play an entire season.
Presuming he keeps up the play in Springfield, I can easily see him making the roster by next season at the latest. It'll be hard to stay in front of the Calverts and Kubaliks while leapfrogging the current roster players, but he's clearly got the drive.
I'm not broken-hearted over losing Sestito, but his demotion is disappointing. He simply offers a different package than the rest of the current CBJ roster. I was neutral-to-negative on his call-up, but he's made me a believer.
(Also, is keeping 3 tough guys on the roster a bad thing if you can't score goals? If you can't outscore the other team with any predictability, why not pound them into submission? It's not my preferred way to win games, to be sure, but it is a way...)