Among the UFAs in the years crop, we will likely at least feel out a few different options. One player that I have not heard yet mentioned in regards to the Jackets... is Brian Gionta. Before I get yelled out for a variety of reason (he's too small) (he can't play in Hitch's system)(he's a wing), I think he could be a good fit.
Here are a list of our current top 9 wings: Nash, Huselius, Modin, Voracek, Chimera, Torres, Count how many right handed players are on the team? 0 . I cheated and did not include Filatov, but that makes a grand total of 1 right handed skilled forward.
This is a reason our PP floundered. I trumpetted the need for a rightie on the PP and we did trade for Jason Williams. We put him on the point.
A right-handed player is really need on the left side boards. This is where players like Richard Park can score powerplay goals. This is where Cheechoo scored 50 goals. On the right side boards you can set up cross ice one timers from many more angle. Without the right shot player it was often Huselius in that spot. Who can forget the Huselius PP, ballerina spin with the puck?
While some will knock Gionta's size, the dude is fiesty. An element that we are lacking in our top 6. He has played successfully in New Jersey which is a system very similar to ours.
According to Sportsnet's Scouting Report: "Has excellent speed and acceleration. Plays with loads of feistiness and energy. Shows excellent offensive upside and two-way ability. Possesses nifty skills and instincts around an opposing net. "
He is 30 years old and will likely earn less than the 4 million from last year.
Now I will not say that Gionta should be the top priority on the team. He obviously is not, but with the addition on him and Filatov our PP would be much more dimensional. I would not suggest signing him unless we had a plan to move out a winger or two off the current roster.
The most likely candidate is Chimera. He's a 2.5 line player. He has great value with his wheels, but we all know his problems with the puck. He's also streaky as can be. He doesn't hit as much as he should either. It hurts to write this because I really like Chimmer. He's a great locker room guy, a great community guy. I say Chimera because I can't imagine Modin or Torres having much trade value at this time with their contracts. That will be a nice 6.25 million to free up next year.
Of course we might have the same type of fit on our team already and not need a player like Gionta (If only the coaches would listen to me). I'd love to see Derek Dorsett given a chance at that type of PP position. He could be a 15+ goal scorer.
Hit the Comments. Fire Away!