Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DBJ's Davidson dialogue

[In light of the news that the Blue Jackets have sent forward Ryan Johansen back to Springfield (a discussion of the implications of said move to come at a later time/date), it's clear that John Davidson is beginning to make his presence felt on the team's personnel moves.  My DBJ compadres and I have spent the past week mulling over Davidson and, more specifically, how long of a honeymoon the man could/should get.  I thought you'd be interested in our "Davidson dialogue." - Tom/DBJ]

TOM: <passes around beverages of choice>  OK, gents.  Let’s get down to business.  How long of a honeymoon is John Davidson entitled to?  I’ll start with a few points and then throw my arms up in confusion.

The CBJ's new major domo is preaching patience,
but how much should he get from the fan base?
First, the St. Louis experience.  Davidson was team president for the Bloose from June 30, 2006 through October 9, 2012.  By my count, that makes six seasons.  In that time period, they made the playoffs twice - swept out in the first round in 2009 (Hey, it wasn’t just Columbus!) and losing to eventual Cup champs Los Angeles in the semifinals last season.

Second, his comment prior to getting hired, “That hockey club is better than the one we took over in St. Louis. That club was way, way down the ladder. But this Blue Jackets team is not that far away. There are some pieces there to work with, absolutely. They’ve got some real players there, boy.”  That tells me that Davidson thinks that we’ve got something to work with - and, presumably, won’t make us wait six seasons before the Columbus Blue Jackets make some noise in the playoffs.  I’ll let you guys try to sort out who he’s talking about.

Third, he’s an ex-jock, ex-broadcaster that actually turned a bad team around.  Unlike Matt Millen, who piloted the NFL Detroit Lions to unimaginable depths while stockpiling five straight wide receiver number one draft picks - only one of whom panned out.  That earns him at least two more weeks in my book.

Lastly, I think the Blue Jackets are on the south side of “pedestrian” from a skill perspective, but that may be because of all the new faces not getting time to gel.

OK, I’m done for now.  I honestly don’t know how long he deserves.  What do you think?

GALLOS:  Interesting question Tom.  First of all, I think that Davidson gets a couple of years because he brings superior communication and personal skills to the table.  In other words, he fills more than one function in his role, and has an ability to communicate where they are going.

Second, we do have some assets in the system now.  We have 3 fine young goaltenders in junior, another two (CMac, York) down in the AHL, and when we dip down to the AHL we are bringing in good talent.

Third, very importantly, is the three number one picks in a very deep draft in 2013.  He has a real chance to stockpile talent, and I really like the fact that Craig Patrick, Davidson, and Howson all have a word on the talent.  Johnathon Quick gets hurt and we could be picking MacKinnon and Seth Jones.  Yowza!  So I think the honeymoon lasts through the development track of those picks.  We end up bombing 3 number one picks, and it could get ugly.  But that’s going to be hard to do in the 2013 draft.

MORGAN:  Oh yeah, Craig Patrick. That’s good Money if you can get it , I guess.  It will take at least two full seasons before a fair evaluation can be made of Davidson as President of Hockey Ops.  Except for this year’s draft, it would be silly to make long lasting player personnel decisions to improve the team’s chances in a shortened season.  The winner of this year’s shortened season will be determined by luck as much as it will team skill.  This team needs to focus on growth and sustainability from the product on the ice and as Gallos pointed out, this year’s draft is a good place to start.  If those kids need four years in the development system to become everyday NHL contributors, then give them four years.   Davidson’s focus should not be on how quickly the team can get fans back in the stands.  The CBJ have been bad for 12 years, it won’t be the end of the world if we have to wait two years for the team to be regularly competitive, but expect me to whine about it anyways.  Turnarounds take time, just like things rebuilt brick by brick.   To me, the honeymoon for Richards is much shorter than Davidson - much shorter and I like Richards.

I’d like to see Davidson work to improve the amateur and professional scouting departments.  Those positions seemed to have been filled by ‘friends of the organization’ in recent years and maybe not the best qualified candidates.  Not that those folks can’t stay, but enriching them should be a priority.  Knowing who to draft, knowing when to keep a prospect in Jrs/Minors, and knowing when to call them up is as much being a good judge of character as it is a good judge of talent.  The Jackets have failed miserably on the former, which is why I’m glad Murray was drafted and not Yakupov.   It’s either jerks that don’t have work ethic or nice guys we bring up too soon.

All that being said, I expect to see some level of progress this season and next.  I get the feeling that the uber-fans of CBJ-ville  expect a playoff run this season or next, simply with the addition of Davidson - which, while not impossible is highly unlikely.  I will go absolutely nuts if the CBJ trade some of the team’s youth to acquire veterans at the trade deadline to TRY and make the playoffs this shortened season.  If Howson even suggests it, he should be canned.   Youth and draft picks are our key assets at this point.  Perhaps after this shortened season we see what free agency looks like once the financial ramifications of the latest CBA are felt.

TOM: OK, guys...I can buy giving him a couple of years.  Seems like it takes a couple of years for anyone to really put their stamp on a team - anyone not named Hitchcock, I mean.  And yes, the team is skill-deficient, which will take time.  Or one or two of those three first rounders turning to gold in our grubby little hands.

I just caught the “Marek v. Wyshynski” podcast where Davidson appeared as a guest, and he indicated that he’s already spoken to plenty of fans, suite holders and season ticket holders.  The fans are impatient, he says (Surprise!), but they’re going to have to learn patience.  I was hoping he might try to make a splash and pull a trade that shouts, “I’m here!” You know, something like a Luongo trade.

But after hearing him talk, I’m preparing to reconcile myself to nothing of substance - playoffs-wise - until 2016.  Seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting move sending Johansen back to the minors. Honestly, I like it. He played well in the first few games, just like he did last year. So to me it is a smart move, and helps the AHL franchise at time when the development counts for Johansen and when we are robbing them of all their D-men.

    Johansen was drafted as a development project. He was never 'NHL ready" coming out of the draft. He hasn't even played a full year in the 'A'. Smart move, took some stones to do it.

    We want this guy to be a star center. He won't learn that playing on the wing. Having him in the A competing for a championship is the right place for him to be, not to mention it will motivate him.

    As often as this franchise get's its chops busted for not developing players properly, and as much as we get criticized already for how we are developing Joey, it's the right thing to do. There is no rush!

    ReplyDelete