Up until about 2pm today, I thought the Blue Jackets were going to sit pat at the trade deadline. Really, there was not much harm in the Jackets being cautious observers today. I'm glad the Jackets passed on Pominville, except for two seasons his numbers are very Umbergian. I was hoping that maybe today that JD and Jarmo might sniff out a buyer for one or two of the many RFAs/UFAs the Jackets will have at the end of this season. First the Lightning / Senator trade broke, and in a tweet I pondered if we'd see a pending assault weapons ban hysteria like frenzy the last hour up to the deadline. Well, as the hour drew near, it showed the JD and Jarmo were in fact, busy little bees. Here are the two big splash acquisitions for the CBJ today:
|JD and JARMO ARE SO AWESOME!|
STEVE MASON - NOW SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM
Steve Mason is sent to the Philadelphia Flyers in return for G Michael Leighton and a 2015 third round pick. This is a good "heads up" trade by Jarmo. Mason is an RFA this summer and given his contract status, I'm curious to see what kind of qualifying offer, if any, he would have gotten despite playing respectably in his starts this season. If another team gave Mason an offer sheet, the Jackets would likely stop negotiating and taken the compensation, likely some third or fourth round picks. Then they are left with turning an existent prospect into a backup which seldom ends well. Now, Mason's RFA status is Philadelphia's mess to consider. They love goalie drama. They haven't had a solid goal tender since Bernie Parent and the list of starters they've had since reads like the periodic table of elements. I think both Leighton and Mason were in desperate need of a change of scenery and that probably helps them both. I say there's a cloud of doubt that follows Mason to the Flyers and no one in the Columbus media cares enough (or is aware) of Leighton's skeletons. Well, they are also much easier to over look considering the 900k cap hit. I like this trade, it's a good trade, not a "Holy Cow, did you see what Jarmo pulled off" kind of trade. Seriously, its the Flyers taking another troubled goalie but this time giving up little to do it. Slowly the Flyers learn, if at all.
OMG - MARIAN "AMBULATORY CARE" GABORIK IS IN COLUMBUS!
Then the BIG trade. Confirmed are: Blue Jackets get F Marian Gaborik in exchange for F Derek Brassard, Derek Dorsett, D John Moore and a 2013 sixth round pick. I like this trade, but I'm not in love with it. I know its very easy to fall in to a romantic swoon over this trade when your team acquires a legitimate scorer - SEE JEFF CARTER. To be honest, these are the kinds of trades you want your GM to be able to orchestrate. This is what I expected from JD, maybe not so soon. Let me break this down for the Jackets players first:
Derek Brassard - as members of the Ice Crew weep, you cannot hide in obscurity while playing in New York City. The media has expectations, the season ticket holders have their own nickname (the Blue Seaters), and the city itself will eat you up with its bigger than everything style. This is a needed salary dump and kind of a "quid pro quo" between the teams of "I'll take some bad salary if you take some bad salary.' If Brassard wants to be playing in North American in 2014-2015, he better make it in New York. But hey, if you can make in New York, you can make it anywhere, right?
John Moore - with Wisniewski, Tyutin, Johnson, Erixon, and Nikitin still around and with the emergence of Prout and the anticipated arrival of Murray next season - Moore found himself in a very actionable position. Even if Tyutin/Johnson are moved and Wisniewski is bought out (total worse case scenario there folks) Moore is still a third pair defenseman. The Rangers have a frugal blue line budget and Moore fits the bill in that regard. This also fits the 'budding prospect' role of any trade to placate tired NYR fans.
Derek Dorsett - you're dating a girl from my high school alma matter, so I feel a kinship. But seriously, there has to be tangible value to a trade and Dorsett fits this bill. Glen Sather knows this, but the NYR dressing room is low on testicular fortitude. Dorsett immediately possesses everything you could ask a non-regular goal scorer to have. Grit, energy, work ethic, energy, grit, and the swagger every hard nose hockey player has. It won't take long for the Blue Seaters to fall in love with Dorsett, and that's because he's awesome. There will be a standing ovation when the Rangers come to Nationwide Arena next season, and it will be for this fella alone.
Lets break down Gaborik
Marian Gaborik has one less point than Mark Letestu so far this season, and makes 12 times as much money. There is the lingering doubt that this could be the greatest salary dump in New York Rangers history, but I believe Gaborik is still capable of 30 goals a year, even in Columbus. There are two dynamics that come with Gaborik - his health and his salary. There is no question about his skill, assuming 100% that simply leaving New York puts him back 1 point per game form. Now that he's out from under the Bobby Valentine of hockey, I think he'll do well here in Columbus. Between Natalie Taylor and Aaron Portline, Gaborik is going to like the way he looks - I guarantee it. I'm going to say the arrival of Gaborik means Prospal is here for one more season to play Crash Davis to Gaborik's Nuke LaLoosh.
|Leesen to me vill you, Ga-bor-ick. Ve must teach you|
good interview vhen you in a slump or pull dat
hip flexor again.
But its his health, and how that impacts his salary negotiations, that scares me the most. I wrote yesterday that I believe JD and Jarmo aren't going to get all emotional in signing guys because they can't believe they came here in ther first place. Gaborik is on a pace to miss 20+ games every other season. I don't know if he likes to drink (alcohol consumption has serious effects on the body's ability to repair muscle fiber) or is just genetically prone to pulling and tearing stuff, but at 7.5 million dollar a year cap hit I'd like to see a more sturdy 7.5 million dollar man. Given the level-headedness JD and Jarmo have shown the last 72 hours, I can't believe they're going to rush out and give him a 5 year S35 million dollar extension they second they are able - Conn Smythe Trophy notwithstanding. If they are both smart and committed, contract negotiation should start around the Olympics next season. Socialized reward, privatized risk.
Overall, I like both of these trades in the fact that neither team is saddled with long term baggage. Columbus didn't move and draft picks and isn't receiving a loafing Stephane Richer in return. Columbus has cap room for next year to try out this Gaborik experiment. The Rangers are only exposed to one year of Brassards fluffy contract, although Brassard will really have to earn his money playing for Torts next year. But these are the types of trades any capable GM should be able to make. Maybe because the Blue Jackets have NEVER had a management staff capable of making sensible trade or acquisitions is why these blew up social media today. I haven't fallen deeply in love with management because this type of management should have been here YEARS ago. I am very happy they are here now. These are the type of deals that this team should have been capable of making since day one. The silver lining to my "matter of fact" feeling about these trades is I do very much like that each of these trade have a very calculated feel to them. They don't seem thrown together last minute, or made out of haste and desperation. What's not to like about that?