Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wait, What? Cody Goloubef Signs One Way Contract

I couldn't find a shot of Goloubef so I went with a gratuitous Vinny Prospal pic 
Tonight the Dispatch is reporting that Cody Goloubef has signed a two year, one way (NHL) contract for $700k and $800k.  Cody was at the NHL level all of last year, as the CBJ were unwilling to expose him to the waiver wire, where they believed he would certainly be plucked.  Honestly, I agree with their assessment on this, but here's the rub.  Cody has flown below the radar for a long time.

First of all, he is a second round draft pick (2007), which is the kiss of death for the CBJ.  In our history, only one other second round pick has made any kind of lasting noise at the NHL level (see Jenner, Boone).  Yes, I know that Danny Fritsche played a lot in the early years, and I loved him, but he played on some of our most woeful teams, so I'm not counting that (not Danny's fault, he did his job).  So here's some evidence of how much Cody has flown under the radar.  I've done my best to show up at Development Camp and Training Camp to get pics of the players so that I don't grossly violate copyright law.  I have no pics of Cody.  There is always someone else at camp who has the name recognition, or is a little more well known, or actually shows up where I can get a picture (a significant issue).

But Cody played well down the stretch, and played reasonably well all year.  Granted, he didn't play well enough to unseat Wisniewski from his position, Jarmo had to do that.  But Cody is a lot like David Savard last year, ready to break out.  So I like this signing.

But here's the rub.  I've heard all off season, based mostly on bald statements by Jarmo, that we need to 'upgrade our defense'.  Yet here are the guys on the Dispatch, referring to a 'formidable group' of defensemen, in this quote from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:

As much as the Blue Jackets like Goloubef's all-around game, he still is not a lock to be a lineup regular. Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, David Savard, Ryan Murray, Kevin Connauton, Dalton Prout are a pretty formidable group, and Justin Falk came aboard at the trade deadline.

I like these players.  I didn't like the Wisniewski trade, as I felt it weakened our defense.  I thought Falk had size on his side, but a training camp with HCTR's system might upgrade his play, otherwise, I was not impressed.  If Kevin Connauton can turn in a season that produces on average at a lower level, but lacks the peaks and valleys (i.e. consistent) of 2014-15 than we may have a good group.  It's not a flashy group, that left with Wiz, but its a solid group.  But will that get you to the playoffs?

For an interesting viewpoint, I'd recommend Jeff Little's commentary over on the Cannon.  Jeff is probably the most thoughtful writer on the CBJ who doesn't hold the title of 'ink stained wretch' (e.g. Messieurs Portzline, Arace, and Mitchell).  To summarize though, Jeff thinks that more action is probable on the blueline.  And I have to believe his logic is persuasive and aligns with Jarmo's statements.  The qualifier I want to offer is that Jarmo doesn't often enunciate his strategy in public, and saying that they need to upgrade defense with his monotonic calmness doesn't quite ring true to me.

Let me paraphrase Jarmo's comments:

 I'd like to announce to the other GM's that I need defensive help since I traded Wisniewski and Reilly (predictably) bailed on me so I would like to offer my prospect for your bona fide NHL defenseman.  Ok, You got me.  I'll throw in a fifth round pick.  

I stated it that way to show how improbable Jarmo's comments really are.  I guess Porty's comments are a little improbable as well, in that our existing group is 'formidable'.  Taking the two statements at face value, I'd lean towards Porty.  Defensive help is the kind of thing that comes available during the season.  The offseason, and Free Agency are times when you overpay for services.  Given the defensive capability of our forward group, it is a reasonable approach to see what Tyutin, Johnson, Prout, Murray, Connauton, Goloubef, Savard and Falk (in no particular order) can give you.  The wild card at this point is Murray's health.  If this last little while is an abberation, he could make this into a damn fine defensive unit.

Our team is not on a cup run this year, barring miracle.  We are still doing ground work.  Finding out what our current crop can do is part of the ground work.  So if we take Jarmo at his word, some changes on the blue line are in the offing.  However, he never mentioned that he might want to see what the current group could do before he made those changes.  Ultimately, he has until the next trade deadline to make that choice.


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