Already, several bloggers have posted their ideas for what the Jackets should do to improve their roster for next year. Now, I'm not going to suggest players to go after, but whom on the current roster, plus Springfield prospects, I would keep and let go. I'm basing my thoughts on three things. 1) Current and recent (The last couple of years) play; 2) Reasonable expectations for future play; 3) How said players would fit into an overall playing scheme. This is, of course, just opinion, so agree, disagree or offer your own thoughts.
With current forwards on the Jackets roster, I would definitely keep the following:
Jeff Carter, Ryan Johansen, Mark Letestu, Rick Nash, Derek Brassard and Antione Vermette. Of the players currently on the Jackets roster, they offer the most likely prospects for solid (even start quality, in some cases) play in the future. Carter and Brass offer a high quality 1-2 punch at center, possibly even swapping lines. Nash and Johansen are and will continue to be scorers of quality while playing a complete game. Vermette's versatility and secondary scoring compliments the other four. Letestu isn't flashy, but plays a well-rounded game.
Forwards currently on the roster I might keep, depending on circumstances:
I haven't seen enough of Gilles to form an opinion, so keeping him or trading him would depend on his play this season. Prospal has been, in my opinion, the Jackets' MVP, this season. On the other hand, he is 37. I would, depending on his continued play and players brought up or acquired, offer him another 1 year contract. Kubilak is, essentially, on a try out. If he plays well overall, give him a shot in training camp. Which brings us to Umby. I love the guy's attitude and he brings something special to the team. On the other hand, he is defensively weak and has been having an off year. I'd be glad to have him, next season, but wouldn't be adverse to a decent trade offer for him, either.
The rest of the forwards currently on the roster are, in my opinion, borderline players. Trade them, let them walk via free agency or retain a few for 4th line duty or emergency fill in for injuries while playing in Springfield.
On Springfield's roster, I would like to see Cam Atkinson, Max Mayorov, Dane Byers (Okay, technically, on the CBJ roster, but we all know where he's going after his suspension.) and Matt Calvert get some ice time at Columbus this year. Along with Kubilak, these guys could (should) be the future. Is the future next year for any of them? Put them on the ice and let's get an idea.
In goal, I would definitely keep only one player currently on Columbus' or Springfield's rosters. Dex. We have no idea how good he could be. Yes, keep Allen York in Springfield, as he seems to be developing well, but Mark Dekanich may be the goalie we've been begging for. Then, again, he could be another Mason. Personally, I like Curtis Stanford, overall, but only as a back-up goalie at best. If he's willing to sign a two-way contract, good. If not, it won't kill us for him to go elsewhere.
For me, selecting defensemen is the hardest task because most of what they contribute does not show up in stats. That said, of current Jackets' d-men, I would definitely keep Wiz, Fedor Tyutin, John Moore and David Savard. When both are healthy, Wiz and Moore compliment each other well and cause each other to play better. Toots is not flashy, but may actually be our best all-around d-man. Savard has had his ups and downs, but is developing well and should be a solid contributor.
Of the rest of the current d-men, the only one I definitely want gone is Aaron Johnson. He's merely Kris Russell with less talent. Grant Clitsome could be an effective 7th d-man, but it wouldn't break my heart to trade him. Mark Methot is in the same boat, but has too big of a contract to spend most of his time in the press box, so trade him for what can be had.
I hate to admit it, but I'm not as well informed on the better d-man prospects in Springfield. Other than Gobelouf (sp?), I don't know of any who stand out. Still, let's send Johnson down and rotate the better prospects through Columbus to get an idea how they fare against NHLers.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Open fire.