Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blue Line and Newcomer Contributions

Here is an interesting stat to show how our off-season acquisitions and Hitchcock's tutelage have paid off.

For all of last season, CBJ defensemen contributed 99 points. This year, the blue line has accounted for 85 points in only 48 games, on a pace for 145 points. Likely higher, due to early troubles getting accustomed to each other. Commodore and Tyutin account for 41 of those by themselves. Think those extra 50 points or so are going to come in handy?

Let's cast the net a little wider -- Commodore, Tyutin and Backman have 9 goals and 36 assists between them. Torres, Huselius, Umberger have 30 goals and 34 assists between them. That's 39 goals and 70 assists, 109 points in 48 games for the folks Howson brought in. Contrast that with the 20 Goals and 56 Assists combined for Gilbert Brule, Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Fritsche, Ron Hainsey and Adam Foote. That gap is only going to widen as the season progresses, as Fritsche has been put on waivers, Brule spends most of his time in the minors, Zherdev has not scored a goal in 13 games, and Foote . . .well, you know. Hainsey leads the Thrashers blue line in points, but we could not afford to keep him anyway.

This does not even include the contributions of our other newcomers that are home grown -- Brassard, Voracek, Russell, Methot. Oh, yeah -- and that Mason guy.

Also not included is the Williams for Wilson/6th Round Pick. That is also a very promising deal.

In short, Howson has done a nice job for us so far, and hopefully this will put an end to the Zherdev apologists. And don't talk to me about Backman -- that will resolve itself, and he was a tag along for Tyutin, our target.


roadman said...

To be fair don't you also have to include Sergei Federov in those departed? Granted it's only 5g-10a-15 points, but he should be included. Anyway the CBJ are still far and away better off with the cast assembled by H & H.

And there is still room for additional moves IF NEEDED. That may be the most impressive part. Howsen hasn't bet the farm on the team as is. I would like to see another week or two from Williams before pronouncing it a great steal but it looks good so far. Patience is the order of the day now. The big moves were made over the summer and it took while for them to bear fruit. Now lets see how the tweaking does and how things go with the return of the wounded.

JAL said...

You could include Federov, but there was no way we were keeping Sergei in any set of circumstances (and the same can really be said for Hainsey).

Your points are well taken -- I think Howson probably has something specific in mind, and possibly lined up, but will wait for the right moment to act.

Of course, with Ottawa coming into town on Friday, I can't help but wonder if that wouldn't be the perfect opportunity to do the Vermette for Klesla deal ;-)

roadman said...

Just finished reading the transcript of the Blue Jackets online w/AP. A question was asked about the ESPN suggestion of the CBJ acquiring Keith Tkachuk. It would be the essence of a rental, he is a UFA next year. Your thoughts? And do you think another center is the next move?

JAL said...

I think the issue of rental is a tough one for the CBJ. Howson has a vision, the team has developed a chemistry, and inserting a short term rental who we are unlikely to sign for the long term is risky to that chemistry.

That being said, if the price remains too high for a long term contributor, then Tkachuk could be an option, if we could get him for a conditional or 5th round draft choice or such.

That being said, I still think that Howson is looking for a skill player like Vermette or Antropov. A defenseman like Kubina could also be in the mix.

As you said, patience is the word, and Howson is patient, if nothing else. As the calendar turns to February, the sellers will start getting nervous, and the price will go down.

Our current level of play has helped Howson a lot, as he can play a bit coy and not desperate.

It shall be interesting, that is for sure.