Jonathan Pierce asks: Is it more likely the CBJ trade for a C to bridge the 2-3 year gap until 3OA (presumably Carlsson) is ready to take over #1C spot, or to try to bring a current #1C on a long-term deal?
I think this one depends on a couple of things. One of those things is cost. But most importantly, which center do they take third overall? If they take one of Fantilli or Carlsson, I think they’re going to try to add someone for one or two years. Both of those guys are really close to NHL ready, maybe even this season, but you want some insurance in case things don’t work out. Also, doesn’t hurt to have a mentor for this player, and the other young centers they’ll hope to move into prominent roles.
If they were to go wild card and take Will Smith third overall, I think the plan shifts and they could go searching for something more long term. Smith will take time to develop into the NHL, and having someone who can eat up minutes and tough matchups, could make a lot of difference for him as he comes along.
This is probably the main storyline for this team, aside from officially hiring their new head coach – who also might have a center preference, if given a list of names available. We all know that something has to change down the middle, and they have too many players fighting for a limited number of jobs (just look at my roster prediction from earlier in the article). It will be fascinating to see what happens, and I don’t think it’s going to be popular with everyone.
Our old friend Franklin Steele asks via Facebook: Who is a former CBJ player who you don’t feel like gets (or received) enough credit from fans?
This one made me think. There are some good ones: Kristian Huselius quietly scored 142 points in 189 games here. I would personally make an argument that Alexander Wennberg is exactly the center this team needs for its second line right now. More recently, Vladislav Gavrikov was criminally underrated by a lot of people within this fanbase.
But, if you want one name that stands out: Sergei Bobrovksy, hands down. In seven seasons in Columbus, Bob was
great elite. He won two Vezina trophies, and in four separate seasons had a save percentage of greater than 92% – twice, better than 93%. The team made the playoffs four times with him as their #1 goaltender during his time here. He’s a top-3 or 4 player for this franchise all-time, but anytime someone ever has something to say about his time here, it’s negative.
Now, I know things went sour towards the end. I also know that a lot of people like to hang this team’s playoff failures on his shoulders. But these points do not detract from the fact that Bobrovsky was the backbone of this franchise for almost his entire time here. Without him, they probably wouldn’t have played in half of those playoff games that everyone likes to blame him for losing.
We should not have been surprised to see him go on his deep playoff run this season. We all know how hot he can run, and when he’s on, there are few in the history of the game who have been better than Bob. At some point, we have to acknowledge that, and appreciate that he was ours for so many years.
On the flip side: maybe if Bob weren’t so dynamic, this team continues their rebuild beyond 2016, and is in perennial contention right now. Maybe in some alternate universe.
That’s all for this version of our AMA. Thank you to everyone who submitted a question, I had a great time answering all of these. Stay tuned to our social media channels, (Twitter) (Facebook) if you would like to have your question answered at some point in the future.