Drafted in the 6th round in 2003, Methot made his debut with the Jackets in 2006-2007, and came up for good in 2008-2009. He played just 29 games in his first two years, and is just now eligible for restricted free agency. Should he stay, or should he go?
What's He Worth?
Methot's first full season was his best, and after a drop-off in '09-'10 he bounced back to have another decent season in '10-'11. While he doesn't provide much in the way of goal-scoring, he's shown that when he's placed in the right situation he can be a solid on-man defender, can move the puck, and can provide some assist help. Methot and Fedor Tyutin could both lay claim to being the Jackets' "best" defenseman for the season. That said, it's no secret that most of the Jackets' defensive corps doesn't blow many away.
Methot is just 25, so it's fair to say he hasn't reached his total ceiling. So, the argument is: if the rest of the Jackets' blue line is beefed up, can Methot excel in a specific role, or has he peaked?
In terms of offensive production, this past season Methot compared with the likes of Andrew Ference (15 points in 70 games), Mike Sauer (15 points in 76 games), Jonathan Ericsson (15 points in 74 games), Adam McQuaid (15 points in 67 games), and Rob Scuderi (15 points in 82 games).
In terms of age and future contract status, Methot compares closest to Ericsson (UFA, $1.25 million in '10-'11) and McQuaid (one more year, $600,000). In that sense, Methot might seem a bit overpaid, but he's also played in two more seasons so he's naturally progressed up the salary structure. We can also perhaps set Methot's ceiling in Tyutin's range (7/20/27 in 80 games). Tyutin is going into his final year, with a salary of $3.425 million and a cap hit of $2.844 million.
What Should The CBJ Offer?
My first inclination is to set Methot's "value" as the difference between his qualifying offer and Tyutin's cap hit. It seems almost certain that he'll get his qualifying offer, and I can't imagine another team swooping in and giving Methot a huge offer-sheet to force the Jackets' hand.
If we use that as Methot's value, considering his age, I think the offer that makes sense is a 3-year offer for an average cap hit of $1.95 million, so a contract of 3 years for $6 million. And, given that Methot seems to be hitting his stride, I think he should stay.