|This Beak is Made for Walking|
(Nancy Sinatra, 1966) Hah!
Last week the news broke that RJ Umberger had asked for a trade. OK, first and foremost, wherever Barry Trotz is hired, that's where Umby is going. OK?
AND, you know you are a local hero when the DKM fellows seranade your nose. At that point you know you have it made in the local fan base.
Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way, it's time to process the whole thing. First off, Professor @OhioHockeyDog, my essay response (scroll to bottom of article for the essay assignment) will follow. As a basic 'sad fan boy' (Puck Daddy, 2014), it's very difficult for me to think like a General Manager. It helps to have a catalyst. Umby asking for a trade is a great catalyst to start thinking about how you will make this trade. So as a blogger, I'm grateful to Umby for some off season content.
As a fan, I think he is a no-good, traitorous cur; or a hero.
The reality is that Umberger bleeds Union Blue, and long term is a hero to the franchise. I think he was genuinely pissed off about being scratched in four games down the stretch. And if he claimed his lower body was good after the season (probably a creative distortion of the facts, I'd still like Umby's chances, even with significant injuries, in a foot race against Aaron Portzline. That's not to say Porty was never a lithe athlete, but consistent with present company, there are a lot of miles on those legs.), challenging a reporter to a race is likely a disingenuous way to claim health that is not actually there. That means no torn ligaments and no high ankle sprain. But Umberger's upper body was a wreck, and his inability to actually admit to the injuries may have hampered the team somewhat down the stretch. His reward was a courageous, and lucky, playoff performance, and all the applause that comes with that. And hopefully this lands him in a desired location.
Because Umby, as a player, is feeling pressure from two sides. He is feeling it from above by Nathan Horton, a high priced free agent who's effect is to push him out of the top six, as well as the rising pressure of three number one picks from below, particularly from Wennberg (who was in the barn for Game 4, how cool is that stuff?). That is a lot of pressure on the top six, a location that RJ envisions himself occupying. And his desire in this trade request is to find a place where he still fits in the top 6 (Nashville), because he does not envision himself as a bottom 6 player.
So is he a high priced diva? No, he's a hero because he recognizes his time with the Union Blue has come to an end, and he wants to leave the team with something. And, he did not make a big stink about it at the time, or cause a distraction during the playoffs; he was patient and waited for his exit interview to make his feelings known. Good on him.
So here is my answer to @OhioHockeyDog. You trade RJ and the rights for Nikita Nikitin for a decent bottom 6 player, an AHL defensemen with some upside, and a late round pick,or better. Problematically, the minute he asks for a trade, Umby's trade value is diminished (which makes him a traitorous cur for actually enunciating what he wants). So there it is @OhioHockeyDog, a bottom 6 forward, an AHL defenseman, and a third round pick for Umberger and Nikitin.
Please use the comment field to abuse my choices. Please keep it clean, however, there is an awful lot of leeway in family friendly chatter. If you doubt me, you should try it from the bleachers in left field at a Clippers game. They're baseball players. Make fun of their effort! It's low hanging fruit!!
Have a safe, fun, and memorable Memorial Day Weekend!