OK, I’ve calmed down.July 4, 2008
I’ve caught my breath and had time to think about the Jacket roster moves over the past few days. It’s not easy to take them in single servings, not knowing what else is going on or negotiated without all the servings on the dinner plate. And as I write this, the team is working on other trades, so things could change even more.
First off, the team replaced David Vyborny’s numbers with Raffi Torres. Torres is a tougher player who will certainly hit harder than Vyborny and will play adequate defense.
With the signing of Kristian Huselius, the team has picked up the numbers that Zherdev had and a little more. Huselius won’t make me forget Nick and I admit that I think Z will get better, but he won’t have the mental lapses like Zherdev did, and will pass the puck a bit sooner and shoot quicker.
RJ Umberger will get his 20 goals and maybe (negative comment coming) get Jason Chimera to improve his game. If Fredrik Modin can play a full season and get his 25 goals, things look bright.
On defense, the team certainly improved. The team is now bigger, even if Kris Russell stays on the roster. Ron Hainsey is gone, but it would have been interesting to see what kind of numbers he would have put up on this new 2008 team. Tyutin is now the guy, unless Klesla can find more goals or someone like Clay Wilson can fill that role. The team definitely is stronger at the blue line. Can they score a few more goals?
Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek have replaced Gilbert Brule and Dan Fritsche, even if they don’t make the team in October. I liked Brule, but he needed a change of address and he too, will probably have better numbers in Edmonton.
Pascal Leclaire has to put up the same numbers and Fredrik Norrena has to improve his game. Two or three more wins from Freddy would be great.
The team looks better now, but what about the other factors? If the team can play as well as or better than last season, it needs to also play even against Nashville and win half those games. It needs to continue to play well against Detroit. It needs to win against Chicago and St. Louis and stay even with them in the standings. Five more wins will go a long way, in the standings and at the bank.
The team is now different, but they are not out of the MacLean hole yet. They are on their way to fixing that with a few more roster subtractions and scouting changes. It will finally be Scott Howson’s team at that point, resembling a modern NHL franchise instead of a PEI social club. That will be a nice way to show John McConnell our thanks and that we won’t forget him.