Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Vermette Situation

There's a discussion over at the Thrashers message board about Antoine Vermette's arbitration hearing. It's tomorrow morning, apparently, and there's reason to believe that Vermy won't be staying in Ottawa. He'll likely be traded to either the Vancouver Whale-Riders, the Columbus Rick Nashes, or that sub-sub-tropical bird team.

Us, that is.

The speculative consensus is that Vermette will be asking for a Duckberg-style bin of loonies and toonies, and the speculative consensus says that Ottawa isn't about to give Vermette a Ron Hainsey-esque contract when they have Msrs. Heatley, Alfredsson, and Spezza to worry about. The word on the street is that Ottawa will trade Vermette for a "puck-moving defenseman." Vancouver could probably supply that (Kevin Bieksa), but I'm not sure about Columbus. And I'm not about to look it up.

Atlanta, of course, now has a few puck-moving defensemen in Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey, and "Zach" the Bull "Bogosian." Do we give one of them up in return for Antoine Vermette?

No, of course not, you asshole. Why would we diminish our suddenly rich (and offensively talented) defense when it's been our single biggest problem for the entire history of the team? Dropping Enstrom for Vermette would leave us no better off than we were before. There is a way, of course, to keep Enstrom (and Hainsey, Bogosian, Nikulin, and whoever else) and get Vermette.

The Blueland Chronicle has been pushing this editorial position for weeks.

Ottawa's greatest lack--contra what Internet and media folk say--is NOT on defense but in goal. Martin Gerber is a back-up goalie, not a starter, and Ottawa is desperate for a talented, reasonably young starting goale.

Let's review the rumored Vermette trade partners: Columbus, Vancouver, Atlanta.

Could Columbus satisfy Ottawa's biggest need? Pascal Leclaire is an excellent young goalie, and Columbus is not about to part with him.


We have Lehtonen. We have Pavelec. I think either trade scenario (Lehtonen for Vermette, Pavelec for Vermette) is completely plausible. Lehtonen is a proven NHL goalie, and a very good one, which is easy to forget if you base your evaluation of hockey solely on statistics. Pavelec, it's true, is younger and less experienced. But there are few people who seriously doubt Pavelec's ability, and I can imagine Ottawa being very interested in making him this year's Carey Price.

Your move, DW.

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