Monday, June 16, 2014

So What Was Jarmo's Role in the Stanley Cup Final?

Jarmo Meets Fans at Cannonfest
Perhaps more than any one single General Manager, Jarmo Kekalainen arranged for no less than 4 players to take part in the Stanley Cup final over the last year and a half (dating to the trade deadline of 2012-13).  All of these personnel moves for the Jackets revolved around the abortive attempt to obtain a game changer in the name of Marian Gaborik.  Now Gaborik has his name on the Cup, and the nature of the free agent pool on July 1 has changed dramatically.

Who would have thought back in 2012 that Derek Dorsett would play in a Stanley Cup final?  Much less Derrick Brassard, who was eaten alive in the face off circle in the final.  John Moore on the other hand, seemed to hold up well to the pace of a Cup final, and is the piece I most regret sending to the Rangers for Gaborik.  He will end up being a very solid defenseman for the Rangers.

And Gaborik?  The 14 goals scored in a Cup Run is sure to haunt the dreams of some General Manager, who plops down the long term, huge money contract in July, for years to come.  There is a slight possibility that the Columbus Blue Jackets role in Marian Gaborik's career was to send him to the right doctor to finally fix that wonky groin.  On the other hand, he may remain injury prone, and an unproductive drain on the cap space of some unlucky team in the future.

So what did the Blue Jackets get in return for all of these Stanley Cup players?  Coming out of the 2010-11 season, the Blue Jackets needs were clear.  We needed to upgrade the defense, and we needed to get stronger up the middle, especially at the center position.  By the end of the 2011-12 season, both Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski had been acquired, as well as Brandon Dubinski and Artem Anisimov.  As Mike Arace mentioned in his column in today's Dispatch, the latter two players are the difference between a Cup and second place for the Rangers.  Do you think Jeff Carter has a great series against Dubi?  He sure did against Brass.  But, at the end of the day, with all that player movement, the CBJ has addressed two glaring needs, strength up the middle, and defense.  We have other needs now, which is a normal course of events for all hockey teams.

More importantly, the CBJ have shown that they are a playoff caliber team 'as is', and they have a year of playing together, which they didn't have before.  Stability is important right now for this team, and I think that's what we'll see in this off season.

If you want to win a Stanley Cup, you need to have a little luck.  The Kings got the longest injury free and most productive runs out of Gaborik that he has had in the last three years.  It is unlikely that he can reproduce a sustained level of play like that, projecting the past forward.  On the other hand, he did have a couple of 40 goal years for the Rangers.  If he can stay healthy, he could reproduce that.  But that 'if' is the 900 pound gorilla in the room.

We got two draft picks that bring a cumulative 10% chance that they will produce an NHL player that plays 400 games, and an AHL player.  We gave up two former number one picks, and one of the aforementioned 10% chance players to get that.  By any measure, Jarmo got schooled on the trades.  However, we also still have that 10% chance, and an AHL player with 'a great shot', whereas if we had hung on to Gaborik, we would have zero (0), because we won't pay him what he is going to want, and probably get.

At the end of the day, we addressed our needs to make the CBJ strong in the future.  LA and NYR addressed their needs for the present.  The next few years should make for some interesting 'story lines' for the future.

So was Jarmo the most influential GM in this year's Stanley Cup?


  1. Gallos. Thanks very much for this perspective. I do believe that Jarmo's actions allowed the Rangers and Kings to meet in the final. Hopefully he'll be able to draft some good prospects moving forward. In hindsight, it seems Howson brought in some good players. The problems arose when they were forced to play before they were ready.

  2. Howson's actions were just as significant for the Final's teams...Jarmo went for Gaborik because he was left without a break-out threat...
    Moving forward & staying positive: this last year's Jackets, for the first time in their history, scored more goals than the league average. And their GA were below the league average. Their power play was the best in franchise history too. They're the youngest playoff-seasoned team, and we'll see what Horton can do in a full season next year...


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