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Sunday Stirrup – June 28th

With the draft now in the books, Columbus Fans should be happy with what the management staff was able to do. We all witnessed something that not many General Managers can do. Howson worked the draft board to perfection and was able to draft 4 defensemen and a couple of forwards. None are expected to crack our lineup next season.

Many mock drafts had CBJ taking Josefson or Moore at 16, they both slid slightly in the draft and went 20th and 21st respectively. I was surprised to see Ellis go to Nashville at 11, the depth they have on the blue line is incredible. When you think of Weber, Hamhuis, Suter and Franson/Ellis on the way, that does not bode well for opposing Western Conference teams.

A week prior to the draft we reported that the Blue Jackets were talking to the Islanders about trading down in the draft.

“Columbus will choose at slot 16 but are hoping to get an additional pick to move back in the first and are hoping that the Islanders will turn over the number 26 in the first round, and 37th overall in the second round for a ten slot bump up for the Isles. They may want to give 26th and 56th overall, the last of their three seconds.Who knows? Maybe the Bluejackets will not want to drop back that far to reclaim a second…”

We are in no way competing with top rumors sites such as Hockeybuzz, but we broke this trade well in advance. We will continue to post any rumors that we view as legit, we will also continue to squash any rumors that simply do not make any sense for our franchise.

We have all heard Dany Heatley, the Sedins and Joe Thornton names appear in rumors coming to Columbus. Yes adding any of those players would be a great addition, but they come at a price. A price that we are simply not willing to pay at this time. No one wants to see Nash leave and you can not justify trading a young player in Filatov, Russell, Brassard or Voracek. That is what other teams are going to want and in a salary cap era, these players are our future and you cannot justify trading them.

So we will have to look towards free agency and what Howson will target. We have to think of players so are sort of second tier. This does not mean we are getting a bad player however, some names that believe Howson will look into will be

Forwards

  • Chad Larose (CAR)
  • Samuel Pahlsson (CHI)
  • Tomas Kopecky (DET)
  • Mikael Samuelsson (DET)
  • Dominic Moore (BUF)
  • Erik Cole (CAR)
  • Nik Antropov (NYR) *may get pricey
  • Manny Malhotra (CLB)

Defensemen

  • Francois Beauchemin (ANA)
  • Dennis Seidenberg (CAR)
  • Marc-Andre Bergeron (MIN)
  • Cory Murphy (TB)
  • Nick Boynton (FLA)
  • Johnny Oduya (NJ)

Goalies

  • Andrew Raycrof (COL)
  • Brian Boucher (SAN)
  • Craig Anderson (FLA)
  • Marc Denis (MTL)
  • Scott Clemmensen (NJ)
  • Kevin Weekes (NJ)
  • Mathieu Garon (LA)

Now I just started looking through all the avialable unrestricted free agency lists and started selecting players who would make sense in Columbus. There are other players that are possiblities come July 1st and free agency always starts at a rapid pace, meaning you need a plan a,b,c and d. Once one player signs it triggers a domino effect and you see many other teams jumping in and spend carelessly. This is when you have to be smart and aviod overpaying on a player.

Another option to consider is Restricted free agency. Looking forward to next years draft(assuming we are in the playoffs) we will be picking anywhere from 15-24 let’s say. That gets you thinking, there are a few intriguing restricted free agents that are worth looking at.  The only down fall is that if you have to pay compensation in draft choices or the opposing team has 7 days to match contract offered.

Offer sheet = Compensation
$660,000 or below = None
>$660,000 – $1mil = 3rd rounder
>$1 mil – $ 2 mil = 2nd rounder
>$2 mil – $ 3 mil = 1st & 3rd rounder
>$3 mil – $ 4 mil = 1st, 2nd, & 3rd rounder
>$4 mil – $ 5 mil = 2-1st, 2nd, & 3rd rounder
>$5 mil = 4-1st rounders

The one good thing about RFA’s are that they tend to be younger then the UFA class.  Opposing General Managers tend to frown when RFA’s are offered contracts. But you know what? You are allowed to do it and it is a way you improve your team. So it is an option you must be willing to explore. Here are the type of players avialable on restricted free agency.

Anton Babchuk, Staffan Kronvall,  Shaonne Morrisonn, Shane O’Brien

David Booth, Chris Higgins, Brandon Dubinsky,  Jiri Hudler, Gilbert Brule, Rob Schremp, Scottie Upshall, Ryane Clowe, Colby Armstrong & Phil Kessel.

With the draft in the books we can now look forward to free agency. It all starts up again in 2 days and 18 hours…

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