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Does Matt Calvert have a future in Columbus?

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Should we say goodbye to another fan favorite?

New York Rangers v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

What do you think of when you think of Matt Calvert?

You think of a player who always hustles. Getting by with grit and determination more than with skill. You think of him scoring the first CBJ playoff game-winner. You think of him returning to the ice with a bandage on his head to beat the Rangers this season. You consider him an excellent penalty killer.

What is Matt Calvert, really?

Honestly, a below average player at this point. He averaged 13:21 minutes of ice time, his lowest since joining the team full-time in 2013. His goal numbers declined (to just 10 this season) and his assist numbers declined even further (just 5). Of those 10 goals, 3 were shorthanded, which doesn’t seem sustainable, so I would not bet on him scoring double digit goals next season.

For his reputation as a defensive forward, his Corsi For % has plummeted from 51.9 in 2013-14 to a team-low (not counting late season acquisitions) 45.3 this season. On the penalty kill, he had the second highest ice time among Columbus forwards (behind only Brandon Dubinsky) but was on ice for 12 of the 39 power play goals scored against the Jackets.

This chart shows how ineffective the team was at prevent shots while he was on the ice (in 5v5 situations):

HockeyViz.com

This chart shows that most of his most common linemates were better at creating shots without him, and no worse at preventing shots:

HockeyViz.com

Why is this a problem?

Calvert is scheduled to make $2.9M next season in the final year of his contract. His cap hit is $2.2M. Calvert is one of 13 forwards currently under contract for next year. Josh Anderson and Alexander Wennberg are restricted free agents, with under $3M in cap space remaining. When David Clarkson returns to long term injured reserve, that creates some relief but still leaves 14 forwards competing for 12 spots along with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Sonny Milano.

So what do we do?

Option #1: Expose Calvert in the Expansion Draft

This will certainly happen, but will Vegas pick him? He’s not without some value to a team like that. He would be a great mentor for the younger players. He has always been a popular figure in the locker room. Vegas may feel his penalty kill abilities are still appealing.

Option #2: Buy out the remaining year on his contract

(Contract data and buyout calculations available at CapFriendly)

There are two windows to buy out contracts this year: from June 15 to June 17, then from June 22 to June 30 (there is a roster freeze in the middle for the duration of the Expansion Draft). There is no reason to buy him out before the Draft, as it is worth exposing his contract for selection. After the Draft, however, they can buy him out and free up cap space before free agency starts in July. Last year’s buyouts of Fedor Tyutin and Jared Boll came right before the deadline.

A buyout of Calvert would save $1,933,333 of cap space, in exchange for a cap hit of $966,667 in 2018-19.

Option #3: Trade him

What would he draw in return? Would you move him for a mid or low round draft pick?

Option #4: Keep him and play him

Option #5: Keep him and scratch him

If Calvert remains on the roster past the summer, he becomes a dilemma for John Tortorella. Does he play Calvert over any of Hartnell, Sedlak, Hannikainen, Dubois, and Milano? Or does Calvert spend most nights as a healthy scratch?

Vote here for what you EXPECT to happen, and comment below with what you WANT to happen

Poll

Calvert will...

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Option #1: go to Vegas
    (52 votes)
  • 22%
    Option #2: be bought out
    (54 votes)
  • 20%
    Option #3: be traded
    (49 votes)
  • 24%
    Option #4: play in his usual roster spot
    (61 votes)
  • 11%
    Option #5: stay around in the press box
    (29 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now