Two recent signings have me wondering what impact these guys could have had on the Blue Jackets roster. First, a former CBJ alum, Derick Brassard, signed to play on the Island for $1.2M and second, Pat Maroon joined the Lightning for $900k. Each are on a one year deal. And while neither are a high-profile signing both provide depth with a good scoring upside and little risk.
Maroon is a 31 years-old, left winger and been in the NHL since 2011 with ANA, EDM, NJD and STL. He has played 449 games tallying 88 goals and 118 assists with 515 penalty minutes. That works out to less than 1/2 point per game. In the playoffs he has seen action 73 times and accounted for 16 goals and 18 assists, almost the exact average points per game as his regular season numbers. His best season was with EDM in 2016-2017 when he played 81 games and put up 42 points (27 of those goals). He also had 8 points is 13 playoff games that year.
Brassard was taken in the first round by Columbus in 2006 (6th overall) and has played 12 seasons in the NHL with 6 different teams. He has totaled 786 games, 176 goals, 275 assists and 391 penalty minutes. His best seasons were in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 with the NYR. He played 80 games in each season and amassed 19 and 27 goal respectively along with 41 and 31 assists. But recently in 2018-2019 he skated with 3 separate teams scoring 14 goals and 9 assists. His best playoff year was in also in 2014-2015 when he played 19 games and put up 16 points.
But the questions is how would they fit on this year's version of the CBJ roster? Here is a list of the current forwards:
Atkinson, Dubinsky, Foligno, Nyquist, Wennberg, Jenner, Nash, Bjorkstrand, Anderson, PLD, Robinson, Hannikainen and possibly Bemstrom, Texier, Milano and Fix-Wolansky.
In the C position you have PLD, Wennberg, Jenner and Nash. Dubi and Foligno can also play the pivot. For the price ($1.2M per year) I would take Brassard over Wennberg ($4.9M) and certainly Dubi ($5.85M). But that isn't exactly how it works. The CBJ would still have to move Wenn or Dubi in order for signing Brass to make sense. My guess is that Jarmo may have tried, without success, to move one or both of them this off-season. Their contract and recent play don't match up and thus, they remain Blue Jackets. To be clear, I'm not down on Wennberg, I believe he has potential, but last year he underperformed in a big way. If I could swap him for Brassard, given performance and contract, I would. Same with Dubi. But absent of that, signing Brass just to sign him, is not logical for the CBJ.
Does Maroon fit? He would be a 3rd-4th line winger. Right now the top 4 wings should be Nyquist, Adkinson, Bjorkstrand and Anderson. That leaves Dubi, Foligno, Robinson, Hannikainen, Bemstrom, Texier, Milano and Fix-Wolansky vying for playing time on line 3 and 4. That looks like quite the log jam. With the NHL moving to younger and faster players the group already on the roster seem like the better choice. Once again if the CBJ could purge Dubi's contract Maroon would be a good fit for the price.
In a vacuum the Maroon and Brassard contracts look great. Solid players on very team friendly contracts. Both players get a chance to prove their worth, team has little risk. In the case of the CBJ, the roles are already filled with bloated contracts that Columbus can't dump or young players with similar cap hits. Good luck to both players, and good for the teams for fitting them in, but the Jackets were good to pass on both.
No update on Werenski watch...
Thanks for reading.