Hejda for Knuble? Not a chance... Blue Jackets Rumourmill Update

Light the LampSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2008

Thanks to Erik for pointing this out from Puck-rakers;

Apparently, Nick Kypreos reported on Sportsnet last night that the Blue Jackets were going to trade defenseman Jan Hejda and a fourth-round pick to the Flyers for winger Mike Knuble.

This is ridiculous. This is crazy. This will not happen. Not a chance.

First off this is Kypreos who is about as accurate at rumors as Eklund, Garrioch or LTL (making sure your paying attention!).

Secondly its the offseason so what in the hell else do we have to talk about so might as well dig into it!

Portzline is bang on through. Jan Hejda for a 36 year old UFA to be in Knuble just is not going to happen.

I have no doubt Knuble is on the market as the Flyers need to get under the cap but they aren't going to use him to pry away a 30 year old defensive d-man in Hejda who not only led the Jackets to a team record best +20 but he did so while playing against the other team's top lines at even strength and in penalty kill situations. That is not even mentioning the sweetheart contract he just signed at 3 year 6 million dollars.

I'm not totally against acquiring a guy like Knuble after all he had 29g for 55 points last year and who wouldn't want those numbers? Quite frankly while I like Knuble he's getting up there in age and he's a wing who needs a playmaker and we have enough of those already.

If Howson were going to make another move I'd prefer it be in the center of the ice or another puckmover on the backend. I also couldn't see Howson including a key member of the defense in Hejda to grab a guy an aging veteran who will be a UFA next season.

Speaking of defense, as I was reading HF about this rumor I ran across this great breakdown of stats from last season. Here is a great tidbit on the Jackets defense:

Four Columbus defenders made the top 10. The Blue Jackets had the NHL’s third best defense on the basis of sixth fewest shots and the top shot quality ranking. Hainsey repeated on this list from last season. Foote amassed all but 6 of his PCD points in Columbus.

Jan Hejda and Rusty Klesla were the other two d-men. In fact if you read through it Hejda was up there in just about every defensive statistical category there was.

Defense from a defending standpoint was clearly not an issue last season and with the additions of Commodore and Tyutin I expect that to only improve. Certainly there are a lot of reasons for the defensive success which at the forefront are coaches who install a system and hold their team accountable for it. You also need players to buy in and then you need excellent goaltending to back it all up.

 

Now generating offense from the blueline is another story entirely but I think it would be real hard to be worse than last season and I think the new additions can move the puck much more efficiently than last year's group. The key to the PP will be Russell and I really think he's going to turn some heads this season.

For those of you who haven't checked out the comments a reader (thanks again Erik) also pointed out this this article from sportsnet.ca regarding Umberger and his potential fantasy value. This writer uses a lot of the quotes from the Dispatch story but its a good read with some positive spin on the Jackets...for once!

Also another reader pointed out this article regarding the 5 worst signings from this summer. Commodore made the list but somehow Finger did not. Don't worry to much though as Hainsey was #1.

4. Mike Commodore, D, Columbus (Five years, $18.75 million): Holland's rule about paying stay-at-home defensemen applies here, as well. Commodore is a serviceable second-pair blue-liner -- and on a genuine Stanley Cup contender, his deal might not stand out as much as it does with Columbus.

Here's what I'm getting at: as it stands right now, Commodore will be the third highest-paid player on the Blue Jackets, trailing only Rick Nash and newly signed Kristian Huselius. Third-highest! Mike! Commodore! And people are seriously debating whether or not this is a playoff team?

I think I posted it once before when it was on THN.com but hey its a slow news day (gawd if its this slow in July then August is going to be a loooong month) so in case anyone missed it be sure to check it out.

Thanks for pointing out these stories everyone. Keep em comin!

-LTL

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