Kukla's Korner Hockey
Defenseman Duvie Westcott is on waivers, The Dispatch has learned. Once he clears waivers, the Blue Jackets will buy out the remainer of his contract.
Westcott has two years remaining on a contract that was to pay him $1.85 million per season. The Blue Jackets will be responsible for two thirds of the money owed, but they can spread it over the next four seasons at about $600,000 per.
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
We’ve come a long way in Columbus. The annual draft, a time of rebirth and promise, has turned into another opportunity to rip management. That is practically Canadian.
Fans understand that franchise sustenance depends largely on drafting well and stocking the farm system. But after eight spotty drafts and seven losing seasons, the Jackets remain a nondescript team, and nobody cares how many quality fifth-round picks and third-line forwards they have.
The Jackets need players.
No Patrick Marleau. No Olli Jokinen. No puck-moving defensemen. But Howson got a top-six forward in R.J. Umberger (maybe a top nine) and he kept the No. 6 pick, spending it on Russian winger Nikita Filatov….
The trade for Umberger was struck before the draft. There was lots of back-and-forth, with Howson making his way to the Flyers’ table to chat with GM Paul Holmgren on numerous occasions, and vice versa.
Umberger is not a prototypical scoring-line center. Hell, he might not even be a prototypical center. But look at the Blue Jackets’ roster. Suddenly, he’s a sure-fire, scoring-line center.
R.J. Umberger could be headed back to central Ohio.
Rumors are spreading in Ottawa that Umberger, who attended Ohio State, could be headed to the Blue Jackets at some point this weekend. No word on what the Blue Jackets would be trading to Philly.
Nick Kypreos was just on Fan590 in Toronto and stated Ryan Malone has been telling people that Columbus, along with Toronto is one of the teams he does not want to play for. Nick feels Columbus is just trying to show an effort to sign a player.
Take it as you wish….
added 9:29pm, As a KK reader pointed out in the comments,
Left wing Ryan Malone said Tuesday he plans to opt for free agency—a significant blow to the Penguins’ chances of trading him for a pick in this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft.
“We will not talk to anyone until July 1,” said Malone, who will become an unrestricted free agent on that date.
more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review…
from Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch,
After months of planning and strategy, the Blue Jackets’ summer of significant change is nearing the launch pad.
A trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the negotiating rights to winger Ryan Malone could be struck today or, more likely, Wednesday, NHL sources told The Dispatch
more on the Blue Jackets…
from Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch,
A week that might be the most important in the franchise’s young history begins today. Trade discussions leading up to and during next weekend’s NHL draft will open an array of possibilities, and it’s time for the Blue Jackets to be bold and aggressive.
The conservative, maybe-our-young-guys-will-all-mature approach can be filed in the same trash can as the finish-last-and-stockpile-some-future-stars method. It’s time to act. Howson should be prepared to move anybody and everybody to get the franchise on track.
And yes, I said “anybody.” Pascal Leclaire … Rostislav Klesla … Jason Chimera … Fredrik Modin … even, gulp, Rick Nash.
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers,
Ryan Malone is not going to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins, unless the Penguins significantly up their offer. It’s looking more and more like the Penguins will get Evgeni Malkin signed to a contract extension and be able to keep right winger Marian Hossa. That will show Malone to the door.
An NHL source said that Malone has been low-balled twice by the Penguins and is ready to leave July 1 as an unrestricted free agent. Malone’s rights could be traded before that day, of course, and the Blue Jackets are a likely destination.
The source said the Penguins have already made the Blue Jackets an offer for Malone’s rights.
From Aaron Portzline at Puck-rakers in the Columbus Dispatch,
The Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be able to keep their Stanley Cup runner-up club together because of salary cap issues. It looks like the Blue Jackets are prepared to offer a helping hand.
The two clubs have had preliminary trade talks, the Dispatch has learned. The discussions have involved Pittsburgh trading the rights to one or two of their pending unrestricted free agents—players the Penguins have decided they can’t keep because of the salary cap—to the Blue Jackets for draft pick or player compensation.
It’s unclear who the players are, but Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik seem like logical choices.
From Aaron Portzline at the Columbus Dispatch,
The Hockey News projects that four of the first six picks will be defensemen, which hasn’t happened since the 1982 entry draft.
In fact, no more than three defensemen have been taken among the top 10 picks in the last 10 drafts.
“This is the finest crop in the history of the draft,” said Grant McCagg, who covers the draft year-round for McKeen’s Hockey, an online news service.
“And it comes at the right time for a lot of clubs, too. There is a real shortage in the league right now when it comes to defensemen who can carry the puck. Lots of teams are looking for one or two of those guys. That makes this even more attractive.”
*Related article previously on KK
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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