Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blue Jackets Gamble at Draft

Nikita Filatov, a left winger from Russia, was taken sixth overall by Columbus. Quick, shifty with a scorer's touch, Filatov's size (6'0" 170 pounds) is the only question about his NHL potential. Highly regarded by scouts, Filatov has said that he wants to play in the NHL, an important point considering there is no player transfer agreement with the IIHF.

GM Howson traded the team's 19th overall and third round draft picks for possible restricted free agent winger R.J. Umberger. A former Oho State Buckeye, Umberger just completed his best season as a pro, scoring 50 points and playing well in the playoffs for the Flyers.

Undoubtedly a solid player, Howson gambles as he needs to sign Umberger before his free agent status begins July 1. One would hope that we will hear an announcement about a contract in the coming week. The Jackets have cap space and need to act aggressively to improve the team this summer. Howson has made two risky moves. Let's hope his gamble proves golden.