Breaking Down the Trade
Where there’s smoke, there actually was fire this time. Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson announced today that the club has traded left wing Jason Chimera to the Washington Capitals for defenseman Milan Jurcina and right wing Chris Clark. “We are pleased to add Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina to our hockey club. Both are veteran players who we believe will contribute significantly to our team,” Howson said.
This moves follows a rumor-laden day that linked the Blue Jackets with other Capitals blueliners Shaone Morrisonn and Karl Alzner as well as the likes of Toronto and Ottawa as potential trade partners. This appears to be a very sound deal for the Union Blue and one that confirms Ken Hitchcock will not be leaving before the Olympic break.
At 6’4” and 240lbs Milan Jurcina adds some serious size to the Union Blueline. The native of Slovakia has registered 14-36-50 and a +8 rating in 302 career games with the Bruins and Capitals. He also adds a very heavy right-handed shot to the Columbus back end. The bad: Jurcina has been characterized as inconsistent his entire career, is prone to mistakes in his own end and is a below average skater. The good: his $1.37million contract is up at the end of the season so if he doesn’t play well, he can be off the books this summer.
Clark, 33, was the Capitals captain and a very capable checking line right winger. He’s just the kind of player Hitchcock covets in his locker room: solid two-ways, tough on the boards and in front of the net. He’s got over 500 games under his belt, a feet only three other Jackets, Sammy Pahlsson, Kristian Huselius and Fredrick Modin have reached. He’ll be brought in with hopes that he might be able to serve in a sort of Michael Peca role. He’s a vocal leader and he’ll hopefully be able to help translate Hitchcock for the younger players and bet them bought into Hitch-hockey. He’s under contract through next season at $2.65million.
Jason Chimera will be missed by many in the Blue Jackets locker room and in the stands. He’s one of the longest tenured players in team history, with 331 games with club to his name. He put up 62-74-137 over four plus seasons with the Blue Jackets. He was acquired by Doug MacLean on October 8, 2005 the day after an opening night loss, for fan favorite Geoff Sanderson. He quickly endeared himself to the Blue Jackets fans and the Columbus community for his dedication on the ice and charitable work off it. “We’d also like to thank Jason Chimera for his contributions to the Blue Jackets organization both on and off the ice over the past four-plus seasons,” Howson said in a club statement. He’ll be sure to receive a standing-ovation when the Capitals come to town in April.
This is an interesting move for the Jackets, who take on the Red Wings tonight in Nationwide Arena. Neither player will be in the line-up but will be expected to debut New Years Eve against Nashville. It’s not a blockbuster deal but Scott Howson’s known for doing well and sometimes finding gems in low-key trades like this. The team needed some sort of spark, nearly all other options have been exhausted. Only time will tell.