Archive for June, 2010

30
Jun
10

Jackets claim Moreau

In what was a bit of a surprise move, the Blue Jackets have claimed Left Winger Ethan Moreau of the Edmonton Oilers off of the unconditional waiver-wire.

Moreau was placed on unconditional waivers yesterday by the Oil with the intention of buying out his contract, the Blue Jackets are now on the hook for 1-year at a $2-mil cap hit ($1.75-mil salary this year).

To me this is a no-risk, potential high-reward move by Howson. Moreau is a character guy, as evidenced by his captaincy of the Oilers.

The biggest concern I have is potential injury. During the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons Moreau played a whopping 32-games in two seasons with broken tibia and a broken leg holding him back, and even an injured eye in 08-09.

It deserves mention that Howson is a former Assistant GM of the Oilers, so I hope that he sees something helpful to the CBJ like he did with Jan Hejda 3 summers ago.

I would also venture to guess this is the limit of the CBJ adding salary during the (almost) free agency period. Unless it’s coming via trade, don’t expect many new faces to take the ice in 100 days in Stockholm.

Advertisements
30
Jun
10

draft wrap-up

This afternoon Coach Arniel, GM Howson, and us regular fans will get our first chance to take a look at the Blue Jackets most recent crop of prospects. Here’s a brief look at all of this year’s draftees.

Ryan Johansen, Center, 6’2″, 192lbs, Shoots Right. Here’s Hockey’s Future and their take on his talent:

Scouts are keen on his puck skills and vision.  Johansen is a skilled mover of the puck and possesses the size to become an effective power forward. He is versatile and his touch around the net will set him apart from the muckers and grinders.

The more I read about Johansen, the happier I am. Here’s something I wrote for UWeekly’s blog about the pick, I strongly believe that Howson didn’t reach when making this pick, and that given the proper time to impress and develop, this pick will only look better with time.

Dalton Smith, Left Wing, 6’2″, 203lbs, Shoots Left. Here are some facts and figures on his most recent season with the Ottawa 67’s:

In his second season with the 67’s, Smith scored 21 goals and added 23 assists for 44 points in 62 games.  He gained a reputation as a fighter, picking up 129 penalty minutes to go along with a +20 rating.  In 12 playoff games, Smith scored 3 goals and picked up 3 assists for 6 points.

Dalton also brings a feisty-side to things:

This guy looks to be a scorer and a fighter, I’m thinking a James Neal type, or what Jared Boll was supposed to be potentially.

Petr Straka, Right Wing, 6’1″, 185lbs, Shoots Left. Here’s Hockey’s Future and their take on Straka:

A speedy winger with great hands, Straka has learned plenty playing under Coach Clem Jodoin, especially how to round out his game and play effective hockey at both ends of the ice. Although he sometimes struggled with his consistency, the reigning QMJHL rookie of the year has a nose for the net and will only get better as he continues to develop and get stronger.

Of course player-agent Allan Walsh believes this was a steal:

As rookie of the year in “The Q” it sounds like Straka has some serious talent. I think it’s interesting to note that with the top 3 picks the Jackets may have drafted a complete line of their top 9 in the next 3-5 years. All 3 players look to have major scoring and play-making potential, but it will need to develop both for talent and for physical maturity.

Brandon Archibald, Defense, 6’4″, 2oolbs, Shoots Right. Archibald is a big boy with plenty of room to grow. He had a solid season with the Sault Saint Marie Greyhounds too:

In 68 games for the Greyhounds, Archibald scored 5 goals and added 28 assists for 33 points while posting 81 penalty minutes.  In 5 playoff games, Archibald scored 1 goal and added 1 assist for 2 points.  Archibald played for Team Cherry at the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game, picking up an assist on the game winning goal.

Mike from The Cannon had this to say:

Archibald slipped a bit based on his Central Scouting ranking, but the Jackets were glad to scoop him up in the fourth round. He’s a two-way guy, with obvious size. He’s another great blueliner to add to the group of Moore, Goloubef, Weber, Savard and Ruth. He could be a bottom pairing guy in the NHL.

As the Blue Jackets only American drafted, it sounds like Archibald could make a major impact if he uses his size effectively.

Mathieu Corbeil, Goaltender, 6’6″, 186lbs, Catches Left. Here’s NHL.com’s scouting report:

“I was so impressed with Corbeil’s quickness for a big goalie. When you see him you won’t believe how quick he is for a big guy (6’6”, 186 lbs). Very controlled and soft pads, no big rebounds. Corbeil has an excellent feel for the game. He’s very good at controlling his rebounds.”

The Goalie Guild’s Justin had some similar things to say too:

What makes Corbeil-Theriault such an enticing choice is his combination of size and quickness. You will hear scouts rave about how agile he is for a goalie of his stature and how refined he already looks for a 1991 birth year. Not only does he have really long arms and legs, but his upper body is long and he’s proportionally wide as well.

Because of these solid proportions, Corbeil-Theriault is extremely well-balanced and mobile in the butterfly. Being able to move such a large frame isn’t easy, but he makes look effortless and controlled on a consistent basis.

I think there is a lot to be excited about with Corbeil. His size alone will make him an interesting prospect to keep an eye on, I would really like to see him develop into someone who can push Steve Mason in the future, or maybe valuable trade bait someday.

Austin Madaisky, Defense, 6’2″, 185lbs, Shoots Right. Here’s Hockey’s Future and their analysis:

Madaisky is a smooth-sakting defenseman with good defensive instincts and some offensive upside to his game.  He became more confident with the puck during the second half of the season, crediting head coach Guy Charron for his mentoring skills. A very well-spoken individual, Madaisky is also very committed to fitness. He has room to add 15 to 20 pounds, weight and muscle that should make him more of a factor in front of his own goal.

Sounds like another good d-man to add to the corps of up-and-comers, smooth skating and good instincts plus smarts is a good combination!

Dalton Prout, Defense, 6’3″, 209lbs, Shoots Right. Very little information out there about Prout, he’s an older prospect, born in 1991, but maybe that will translate into getting to the Blue Jackets sooner rather than later.

Martin Ouellette, Goaltender, 6’1″, 160lbs, Catches Left. Another prospect without much information on him. It’s nice to see the Blue Jackets putting some depth in the pipeline with Mason and Garon with the big club, Wesslau and a soon to be signed free agent in the minors, and prospects like York, Corbeil and now Ouellette on the way up, there are more bullets in the chamber with a lot of potential.

Here’s the total roster from BlueJackets.com for the start of today’s development camp:

Check out the Jackets site for all the details and practice times.
Go Jackets!
27
Jun
10

In Defense of Howson, Draft Overview

With the 4th pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft the Blue Jackets made what was considered a bold move and selected Center Ryan Johansen. I sat somewhat dumbfounded staring at the TV screens in Nationwide wondering what the heck Scott Howson was doing. While the entirety of the Blue Jackets fan base made a collective “HUH??” Scott Howson and his staff made a confident pick of the player they viewed as best available at #4.

Firstly, Howson is not in a position to make a risky pick. As quickly as the mess left by Doug Maclean has been contained and turned around, the team on the ice this coming season will go a long way to determine if Howson will remain the GM of the Jackets beyond 2010-2011. Back to the pick, the last thing a GM like Howson is going to do is make a huge reach for a risky prospect.

Secondly, just because every writer or reporter who covers hockey for the Jackets directly, says that defensemen Gormley or Fowler would come to Columbus, doesn’t mean it has to happen. From the Dispatch to TSN to NHL Central Scouting, nobody but Howson and his staff knew of the intention to draft Johansen with the first round pick. I would absolutely hate to play a game of poker against Howson, he seems to get better and better at keeping the beat writers off his tail and from scooping a story before he wants it to be known.

Thirdly, maybe Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley really weren’t that special of players. The thing about the NHL Draft, much like the MLB, the validity of a draft will not be known for anywhere from 3-7 years after it has been completed. NHL Central Scouting had Fowler and Gormley rated #5 and #6 respectively and the Jackets jumped down to grab Johansen, rated #10 by central scouting, quite the reach right? Not when the Gormley and Fowler plummeted all the way to picks #12 and #13 to Anaheim and Phoenix.

Finally, the biggest difference between this regime and the previous management group is the process of talent development. If there was still a crazy man at the controls of the franchise, it would be reasonable to expect Johansen dressing up in Union Blue in Stockholm in October. Barring an amazing D-camp and Training, Johansen will continue to develop in the Juniors and minor leagues before his NHL debut.

Puck Daddy considers the Jackets fans to be “losers” in this draft… but then again he’s citing Bob Hunter’s (barf) article that put a negative spin on the whole situation. Wysh does give the CBJ a break, because as I previously mentioned, time will tell.

Here are all the Jackets picks from this draft, more information tomorrow about each of these players:

1st Round: Center Ryan Johansen (4)

2nd Round: Left Wing Dalton Smith (34), Right Wing Petr Straka (55)

4th Round: Defense Brandon Archibald (94), Goaltender Mathieu Corbeil (102)

5th Round: Defense Austin Madaisky (124)

6th Round: Defense Dalton Prout (154)

7th Round: Goaltender Martin Ouellette (184)

22
Jun
10

2010-2011 Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule

The Blue Jackets begin their 10th anniversary season in foreign territory against the Sharks and open the season against the Stanley Cup Champs. Here’s the schedule broken into 4 distinct sections:

The first part of the season has a decent mix of home games and road games, the longest rip coming with the 3-game roadie in California.

Notable home games: Chicago, Philadelphia, Montreal, Nashville, Detroit

Notable road games: Detroit, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago

This second area of the schedule provides a 3-game Western Canada trip and a 4-game trip including Nashville, Phoenix, Anaheim and Los Angeles. The New Year’s Eve game again makes an appearance in Columbus.

Notable home games: Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Detroit

Notable road games: Buffalo, Vancouver, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles

The NHL All-Star Break takes place between January 26 and January 31. The Jackets travel to Pittsburgh’s new arena on February 8 and face-off against the coach that snubbed the CBJ in Tampa on January 18.

Notable home games: Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles, Nashville

Notable road games: Detroit, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Nashville, Vancouver

The Blue Jackets complete the 2010-11 Regular Season in Columbus against the Buffalo Sabres, hopefully this will NOT be the last bit of hockey played in Nationwide Arena.

Notable home games: Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, New Jersey, Vancouver, Chicago, Buffalo

Notable road games: Washington, Nashville

To me, nothing about this schedule really “sticks out” as ridiculously crazy. Aaron Portzline points out that the Jackets play in 18 back-to-back scenarios, which is up from 2009-10’s 12 back-to-backs. We won’t know until later this evening when Dirk Hoag posts his “super schedule” with every team’s total back-to-backs and other quirks.

Best games for a road trip:

  • Saturday, October 23 @ Chicago
  • Sunday, December 26 @ Chicago
  • Thursday, December 30 @ Toronto
  • Saturday, January 15 @ Detroit
  • Saturday, January 22 @ St. Louis
  • Sunday, February 27 @ Nashville
  • Saturday, March 12 @ Carolina

Some tidbits:

  • The Blue Jackets play a total of 19 home games on a weekend (Friday-Saturday-Sunday), not including the “home” games in Stockholm.
  • Oddly enough the longest home stand is only 3 games, and happens twice
  • Longest road trip is 5 games, happening only once
  • 18 back-to-back’s, don’t bitch, Chicago won the Stanley Cup with 19 back-to-back’s last season
21
Jun
10

Schedule Release Eve!

Tomorrow brings a day I certainly look forward to every summer, the release of the upcoming season’s schedule! Entering the third season of the NHL’s new schedule format, it has become easier to predict what teams we may see in Nationwide, and which we may not.

For those who may not fully get the NHL’s schedule and how it works out, here’s the breakdown of how many games are played against each team in the league:

6 Central Division games, 3 home 3 away (Detroit, Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis), 24 games total

4 Western Conference games, 2 home 2 away (Vancouver, Colorado, Calgary, Minnesota, Edmonton, San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Dallas), 40 games total

1 Eastern Conference game + 3 “return trips”, 18 games total

There are your 82 games over a 7-month span.

The West teams that visit Nationwide are fairly easy to predict with the one exception this year being one less home game against the Sharks as the Jackets will play two games against San Jose in Sweden.

The East gets a little more complicated with each team “guaranteed” to visit each arena every-other-season. Here’s who visited the Jackets in 09-10:

Pittsburgh

Carolina

Toronto

Florida

Buffalo

Atlanta*

New York Islanders*

Tampa Bay

Washington*

Those teams with an asterisk were the Jackets’ Home-and-home partners for last year, interestingly both Washington and New York have been home-and-home partners for the last two seasons… don’t expect that again… It can be safely assumed that the Jackets will travel to Pittsburgh, Carolina, Toronto, Florida, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay. Here is where the Jackets travelled to in 09-10:

Washington*

Atlanta*

New York Rangers

Montreal

Ottawa

New York Islanders*

Philadelphia

Boston

New Jersey

The only guarantees that can really be made of all this information is that the teams that were NOT part of the Jackets’ home-and-home road schedule, WILL play in Nationwide arena at some point in 2010-11. This means that the Rangers, Habs, Senators, Flyers, Bruins, and Devils will all make their way west to Columbus.

A couple of predictions:

  • Aside from the pre-season (who cares anyway?), don’t expect Pittsburgh or Washington to visit this season, the CBJ have cashed in each of the last two seasons having Crosby AND Ovechkin visit, but that is unlikely to happen for 3 years straight. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE for a natural geographic rivalry to build with Pittsburgh and Washington, but those are two teams that every team in the Western Conference will sell out their building for.
  • In 2008-09 the Jackets had 20 back-to-backs during the season, leading the NHL, in 2009-10 that number dropped to 12, tied for second fewest in the league. Don’t expect the scheduled-gods to be quite as friendly in 2010-11.
  • Along the same lines, the Jackets were fortunate to have 19 games on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday last season, which was par for the course in the NHL in 2009-10. (League high being 23 weekend games, low being 13) As posted earlier, the opener will fall on a Friday, so there’s 1 weekend game guaranteed!

Much like previous summers, keep an eye to “On the Forecheck” for the 2010-2011 “Super Schedule” for all the quirky facts about EVERY team’s schedule and travel information.

UPDATE:

Meant to include this link about new parking meter fees and extended hours in and around the Arena District:

The city said it’s extending hours of enforcement to 10 p.m. from 6 p.m. in restaurant, theater and other entertainment areas, including downtown, the Arena and Brewery districts, the Short North, Grandview Avenue, the Ohio State University area and Italian Village. All one-hour meters also will be adjusted to a two-hour maximum.

The adjustments come after a series of meetings with a committee of business owners and other leaders on an alternative plan for generating enough parking meter revenue to create a $1.4 million contingency fund for a planned convention center hotel and to replace all meters. Columbus originally hiked rates by 50 percent city-wide but rescinded the increase after pushback from downtown business owners. City officials publicly acknowledged the momentum on the convention center hotel led to the increase without seeking sufficient public input or considering other possibilities, such as extending hour limitations.

21
Jun
10

Home Opener Announced!

The 2010-2011 Columbus Blue Jackets’ Home Opener will be held on Friday, October 15, barely a week after the Sharks and Blue Jackets hook-up in Stockholm.

This information courtesy of the Thrashers’ blog, Blueland Blog.

Thankfully the Jackets do not appear to be on the hook for opening any other buildings, as they did 3 times in 2009-10. More info on what to expect from the schedule later today.

21
Jun
10

Old News and the Number 4

Since Rick Nash has emerged as the power forward with strong two-way abilities under Ken Hitchcock, the calls for him to be provided a true top center have grown and grown, until now they’ve become far too commonplace for anyone who cares to really notice.

The Hockey News provides yet another one of said “calls for a center”:

So the task at hand for Columbus GM Scott Howson is to finally bring in an elite pivot who can run with Nash on a consistent basis. Patrick Marleau is the obvious target this summer. The Sharks center can both pass and score, plus he has experience playing with an elite winger in Dany Heatley.

Marleau can fit under Columbus’ cap right now, assuming the Jackets are willing to spend the money. The fact they compete in one of the toughest divisions in hockey expedites the need. Detroit and Chicago are powerhouses, Nashville almost always finds a way into the playoffs and St. Louis will be dangerous after a transition year.

Options other than Marleau are thin. It’s been suggested Patrick Sharp could be sacrificed due to the Blackhawks’ cap crunch, but would Chicago trade such a valuable asset to a division rival? Internally, I had high hopes for youngster Derick Brassard, but his ill-fated fight with James Neal of the Stars two years ago hindered his development when he separated his shoulder in the melee.

Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec is a possibility and I suppose you throw Olli Jokinen’s name in there as well, but if we’re talking about Olli, you know the well is running dry.

Don’t give much credit to what is written in the article. The Jackets aren’t going to break the bank for Marleau or bother with someone like Jokinen. Like any good manager of a small-market team, Howson has proven time and again he is all about building through the draft, not breaking the bank for a washed up player (Jokinen) or someone very over-priced after a great season (Marleau 44-39-83). As last week’s rumor du jour reminds us, the top center to complement Nash will more than likely come via trade…

This rumor was courtesy of Pro Hockey Talk‘s Brandon Worley:

Pro Hockey Talk has learned of a possible trade in the works, with the Boston Bruins dealing Blake Wheeler and Marc Savard to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. It’s likely that the Bruins would also include their 15th overall pick in the deal as well, leaving Boston with both the second and fourth pick in the first round.

Quite the rumor. Blake Wheeler is an RFA Right-winger, Savard is a 32-year-old center with a new 7 year contract going into effect July 1, with a cap hit of $4.01 million (info via CapGeek.com), and the 15th overall pick still could net the Jackets a solid prospect. Boston is just one of many teams facing a salary crunch in the coming months and alleviating Savard would be the first step to solving the Bruins’ cap crunch. Portzline almost immediately said the rumor wasn’t legitimate… but then again The Dispatch had no idea that Guy Boucher ever came to Columbus to interview.

Personally, I think this type of trade could be very beneficial to the Jackets in the short term, but as Savard is already over 30 and had concussion issues last season, I’m a little worried if he were to come to Columbus. Wheeler would be a huge “get” for the Jackets and would allow Howson some major flexibility when it comes to moving a wing or two in a trade.

Worley followed up his rumor post with more information about the potential trade including that Marc Savard’s contract includes a No Movement Clause that would have to be waived. Since this rumor first surfaced many others have begun to swirl as “Crazy Season” has fully engulfed the NHL community. With the NHL draft and Free Agency looming, look for many more rumors to swirl, especially for a team with a new coach that needs to win NOW.




The Jacketsblog’s Twitter

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.