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Blue Jackets 2007-2008 Post Mortem

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Blue Jackets 2007-2008 Post Mortem

Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:12 pm

The season has ended for the Blue Jackets and I have a few thoughts:

The Jackets FO really needs to do what it takes to get some credible first line help to pair with Nash. I think we can all agree that Nash is the straw that stirs the drink for the Jackets and he is one of the premiere forwards in the NHL. Message to the FO: GET THIS GUY SOME HELP!!!

The Jackets could also use a first line caliber blue liner who is strong on the fore check and isn't afraid to scrap a little. It also wouldn't hurt to have a D first Dman, especially in this day and age of offense-minded blue liners. The guys they have are steady and will give you good ice time, but a Dman who other teams will actually fear should be somewhere on the wish list for the Jackets FO.

They need to re-extend Nash and continue the commitment to keeping him long term. He has two years left on his present deal, so the urgency is going to begin to show up if it hasn't already. Getting a line mate that has a comparable skill set for him is one way to show commitment. Making him a captain is another way, albeit symbolic. But he hasn't sniffed the playoffs three years into his current deal. Showing him the money may be the biggest piece of the puzzle. He has shown that he is worth every dime he'll get.

All in all, this team isn't at all far off. Realistically, had they finished this season the way they have finished the last three the Jackets would have been much closer to a playoff berth this season. The team has lots of talent, but are missing just a couple players to put them into an elite status in the rugged Western Conference.

The FO did what they had to do with Fedorov and Foote. I would have unloaded them, too. Howson seems to have all the right values to get this team into a position of relevance. But there is a sense of urgency for Howson and Hitchcock as the coach to get this team into a playoff mix soon. The bloom is off the rose in Cowtown and with the popularity of the Buckeyes, the Jackets can't merely claim their pro status to set them apart from Ohio State. At some point, the Jackets have to earn their keep.

It'll be interesting to see how the Jackets do in the off-season to get them over the playoff hump for next season. They appear to be on the right track, but we have no basis of knowing whether all the players in the Jackets fold, off and on the ice, have that same level of commitment.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:11 pm

To pile on some of my own thoughts...

You're right. Priority #1 is getting help for Nash. The defense is ok because they play into Hitchcock's system. It would be nice to get a big shutdown guy, but they may have to settle for bottom pairing guys and hope they overachieve (Hejda).

Like I said, I would structure something around Brule/Fritsche and their 1st this year to get something done for Jokinen. Signing him to an extension would be great.

Other than that, they have it in place. Some other role players would be helpful because guys like Malhotra and Chimera are kind of in a revolving door situation, tweeners between the 2nd and 3rd lines. Secondary scoring would be nice, but as evidenced by teams like San Jose, it's not necessary.
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Unread postby Cerebral_DownTime » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:41 am

First off great thread name. I pretty much agree with both of your statements getting Jokinen would be a blockbuster for us. We have two first round picks if im not mistaken I would prefer to keep Fritsche but we are foward loaded. Extending Nash and Zherdev wouldnt be a bad idea either. Howson has already told the Dispatch they will be very active in the offseason FA market. If we got Jokinen and Campbell ( if SJ doesnt re-sign him) I think we would be a force to be reckoned with in the Western Confrence and the playoffs would just be the start. Go Jackets.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:25 pm

If I'm not mistaken Zherdev is as good as gone. He wants to play in Europe.

That said, if it is true I won't be shedding a lot of tears. I don't think he has been as good as advertised and I wouldn't mind getting someone who can mix it up a little bit to take over for him. It always seemed that Zherdev would always find ways to avoid contact.

I'm in the Jokinen camp if the deal can be swung. Howson has had the better part of the year to study the hand he's been dealt, so I have no doubt that he's feeling the itch in the trigger finger.

I also like the idea of shopping one or both of the first rounders to get the first line center they need. The deal would have to be right, but it is still an enticing option.
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Unread postby skatingtripods » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:30 pm

buckeyehoppy wrote:If I'm not mistaken Zherdev is as good as gone. He wants to play in Europe.

That said, if it is true I won't be shedding a lot of tears. I don't think he has been as good as advertised and I wouldn't mind getting someone who can mix it up a little bit to take over for him. It always seemed that Zherdev would always find ways to avoid contact.


I hadn't heard that. I disagree. I think Zherdev is a huge loss. He's their most creative player and about the only true secondary scorer to Nash.

For a mid-market team, a replacement for Zherdev is extremely costly. They'll find a way to keep him, I would assume. But at the end of the day, they're a much better team with Zherdev than without him.
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Unread postby Cerebral_DownTime » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:23 pm

Why would Zherdev play in Europe? He is an NHL caliber player and our second best scorer. I think your thinking of Vyborny. Plus he is under contract thru next year. If he did leave the states he wouldnt play in Europe he would go back to the Russian Super League.
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Unread postby buckeyehoppy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:00 pm

I had thought that I heard Zherdev was pretty well set to go back and play in Russia.

I am sure the Jackets are the best place for him to play and the FO will make sure he knows that when and if they re-up his deal.

I have my misgivings about him. I wish he would be more physical, but he has his own style of play and most European players are more finesse and less physical, so it is what it is.

That's not to say he's a stiff. Far from it. He may well benefit from an infusion of new blood on the forward line. I would think so, at any rate.

And he is only 23, so if he needs to show naysayers like me a little bit more he should be given the benefit of the doubt. He has been around awhile for being 23. But playing in Columbus afforded him the chance to do some on-the-job training with the big club. If the FO can convince him to stay, I'll be patient with him long enough for him to rebut my doubts. In truth, it shouldn't take too long.
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