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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blue Jackets Trade Vermette to Coyotes, and Jeff Carter?

Today the Columbus Blue Jackets traded Center Antoine Vermette to Phoenix in exchange for a Second Round pick in the 2012 draft, a Fourth or Fifth Round pick in the 2013 draft (if the Coyotes win a playoff round this year it will be a Fourth Round pick), and goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

Who got the best of the deal? Let’s take a look.

Coyotes President Mike Nealy and VP and GM Don Maloney wanted more strength at the Center position, and Vermette is known to be a good two-way player who can take face-offs, kill penalties, and even play on the power-play. The question is can Vermette turn his game around after being in the midst of a very dismal season? Recapping his career, he played almost four years with the Senators before being traded to Columbus, and in that year before the trade occurred he only had 28 points in 62 games and was -12.  He did well in Columbus for three years but this current year (yes, the fourth year again) he only had 27 points in 60 games and was -17. Will he be able to legitimately get back into form, and I mean more than just getting better stats due to being on a better team? He is 29 years old and that is something to take into account, although he should have a handful of good years left if he focuses on his health and conditioning. Another thing that the Coyotes needed to consider is the effect that a trade would have on the team, a team that has been playing extremely well together lately. Sometimes adjustments can cause problems and sometimes everything clicks. Finally, I should mention that Vermette is in the second year of a five-year contract so they have him locked-in and that is obviously a benefit.

In the other camp, Columbus’ owner McConnell, President Mike Priest, and General Manager Scott Howson want to start over and bring in a lot of new young talent. In my opinion, moving Vermette was an excellent trade for the Blue Jackets because they will get two draft picks and also an extra goalie. If it was me, I would have asked for someone else instead of McElhinney because he is extremely unpredictable and just had abdominal surgery this past January. Before the injury he played 25 games for the Portland Pirates of the AHL (Coyote affiliate), and had a .907 Save Percentage. Hopefully he will be able to recover well and improve his game. Unlike many other people, I don’t believe that goaltending is Columbus’ biggest problem—please see my explanation including stats in the article entitled:  “Trade Rick Nash?”

All said, in my opinion today’s trade could prove to be good for both the Blue Jackets (future) and the Coyotes (now), however, I definitely give the nod to the Blue Jackets who could get some good young talent and they will also have an extra goaltender just in case.

Jeff Carter and Rick Nash:

Jeff Carter apparently wants to be traded. In my opinion get rid of the baby as soon as possible before he causes any more problems. Due to his previous good years with the Flyers they should be able to get substantial return. We can expect Carter to be traded before the deadline, but as for Nash, who knows. Rick Nash should never have been put on the block in my opinion, and now he obviously feels expendable and that is not good. They should have focused on Carter and Vermette and built around Nash with the many good draft picks that they will get this year, and next year. Now that Nash is being shopped-around, I believe that the Los Angeles Kings should go for him tomorrow. The Kings just lost tonight to the Avalanche by a score of 4-1 and they need to turn things around right now if they want to make the playoffs. With the players that they have there is no excuse for not being able to put the puck in the net.

TJ Stanley