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MEMBER SINCE   December 12, 2018

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Comment 20 Jul 2019

Unless they're going to go offer sheet hunting, there's absolutely no reason to buy Dubinsky out this year. They have tons of cap space. The worst case is he ends up in the press box, but you don't need the space a buyout gives you, at least this year. Next summer is a different story, but that knocks down the cap penalty to just two years instead of four.

Comment 15 Jul 2019

Not to get too far off topic, but Jarmo has also been consistently drafting in the second half of the first round. It's a struggle for anyone to consistently find NHLers at that point. The fact we're getting NHL talent out of the draft is the important part. Who cares where it was taken. The two top-10 picks he's had have been great.

As for Marner, unless you think you're going to be consistently drafting in the top-10, an offer sheet to Marner makes a ton of sense if you can get more than 4 years out of him in term. The chances that you're drafting another Mitch Marner in any of those picks is very low.

Comment 08 Jul 2019

I think you're right on the money with some sort of move coming to solidify the middle of the ice. I tend to think it will be a trade, but who knows.

The other caveat with Marner is you can offer him $15 million/year if you want, but if he doesn't want to play in Columbus, it won't matter. Maybe money talks, but if he's going to risk the Leafs not matching, it would obviously need to be somewhere he wants to play. Maybe Columbus is on that list, but the fact we're a week out and there hasn't been a hint of an offer sheet with Marner, it makes you wonder if his camp was bluffing by being open to one. 

Comment 08 Jul 2019

I've said it on other articles, but this is as wide open as the Metro has been in ages. The Caps are probably still the class for another year or two. But the Pens are undoubtedly trending down as you said. I want to see the Canes (and mostly Mrazek) do it again before I believe they're here to stay. The Islanders are definitively worse with Varlamov in lieu of Lehner. The Rangers and Devils are both much better, but both have questions on the blue line, IMO, and the Devils definitely do in net. And I have no idea what the Flyers are doing. It's a decent roster on paper, but are they any better now than they were last year by swapping out some parts for....other parts?

Comment 05 Jul 2019

Gusev was actually drafted by Tampa, and had his rights traded to Vegas as part of an expansion draft deal. He essentially did what Merzlikins did from there. He signed a two year contract in the KHL, then signed a one-year deal with Vegas after the Russian season ended to burn a year and become an RFA.

Comment 03 Jul 2019

It's been beat to death, but Wennberg hasn't been the same player since his first concussion, and again after Wilson launched into his head in the 2018 playoffs. Hopefully a solid world championship has him trending back the right way. His reemergence would be a massive development for next season.

You don't score 59 points in this league by accident, so the talent is clearly there. That number was inflated a bit by the historically hot PP that season, but he still put up the numbers. 

Comment 02 Jul 2019

The million dollar (or about $2 million given salaries) is can Merzlikins/Korpisalo/??? stop the puck. At its root, hockey is a pretty simple game. If you can keep the puck out of your net, you're going to win more than you lose. The Islanders proved this to a "T" with a roster that quite frankly is not as good as where Columbus is right now, in my opinion. 

Seems obvious to me, but Torts is going to have to adjust the system, at least early, to protect the two kids in the net. 

The other caveat here is I strongly believe the Metro is wide open. The Rangers are significantly improved, but are they 20+ points better? The Devils added Hughes, and a declining Subban, along with Hall's return. But they have big questions in net and the blue line. The Pens just removed about 40 points from their lineup with Kessel gone for Galchenyuk, and have a terrible defense outside of Letang and Dumolin. The Flyers are solid, but nothing they did made them appreciably better. The Caps are going to be there as always if they're healthy, but that's an aging group too. The Islanders just let a Vezina finalist go for Semyon Varlamov, and the Canes are relying on Peter Mrazek and a rookie. Columbus certainly has questions of their own, but there are enough good players, again in my opinion, to hang around.

And as you said, I have to imagine there's a defense for offense move coming  at some point with the glut of defensemen still on the roster.

Comment 02 Jul 2019

I'm not sure I'd say there are "lots and lots of holes". You have a bonafide No. 1 defenseman in Seth Jones, and a budding star next to him in Zach Werenski. Your second pair is some combination of Ryan Murray, David Savard, and Marcus Nutivaara. Dean Kukan, Scott Harrington, and Vladislav Gavrikov are certainly serviceable as third pair options. Dubois is a budding No. 1 center, with a consistent 30-goal scorer in Cam Atkinson on one wing. Josh Anderson, Boone Jenner, Olivier Bjorkstrand, Gus Nyquist, and Nick Foligno form a solid top-9 set of forwards. Yes, you have a question at 2C, but that can be filled. Goal is certainly a question, I'll give you that.

That is to say nothing of prospects like Alex Texier and Emil Bemstrom, both guys that certainly have the pedigree to be legit NHL players, or better.

Comment 01 Jul 2019

I'd wager you'll have a not insignificant number of new fans that bought anywhere from a few games to a full season worth of tickets because of the buzz from last year. 

Comment 01 Jul 2019

The Blue Jackets are not leaving Columbus. Period. End of story. Quite frankly to even suggest that is idiotic.

As for the other part, there are plenty of good, or even very good players that have come to Columbus, or chosen to stay here over the years. Is it for everyone? Hardly. But to suggest that no one wants to live and play here is just not true.