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Bob and Bread: The Way Forward

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I know this will sound crazy, but I think we should not trade Artemi Panarin. Hear me out.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

S’up, y’all! ‘Member me?

Between job changes and graduate school (sidebar: working full time and going to grad school full time and raising a child all at the same time is a crazy idea), I have not been the presence here at the Cannon that I wish to be. But, the gang has been gracious enough to let me lurk in their Slack chat and occasionally fire off a shot from the point now and then.

This season has been a roller coaster. My GAF meter was pegged pretty low with all of the contract drama, and seeing the team’s inconsistent play has not helped too much. With my evenings mostly tied up, my bandwidth for watching games has been low as well, so even when they are playing well I’m not as plugged in as I would like.

I have, however, been able to pay a bit more attention of late, and The Cannon, as always, keeps me more up to date.

On the most important issue of this season, while I’ve never been in the camp of “TRADE THEM NOW GET WHATEVER YOU CAN NO MATTER WHAT,” I believe that if the right offer(s) come along Jarmo has to pull the trigger. You’ve seen me positing in the comments that “getting something for” a player doesn’t always mean that that something is worthwhile, and I do believe that.

However, I still believe both guys are gone this summer, and so planning for the future is paramount. But, with the play of late—and some of the rumors we’re hearing—I think Jarmo might have a slim window to have his cake and eat it too. I still wouldn’t peg myself at “keep Panarin 100% of the scenarios,” but I’m actually inching closer in that direction.

Here’s why. Here’s The Way Forward for the Jackets. Hear me out.

  1. Cut a hole in a box.

Wait, no, that’s a different list. Sorry.

  1. Move Sergei Bobrovsky to Florida, and flip a minor asset to Detroit for Jimmy Howard.

I would assume your first reaction to that would be, “Why? That’s not an upgrade, and Howard isn’t staying long term in the summer. Plus, we have young guys coming.” Second point first, I know he’s not staying, and that’s part of the allure. Rumors about bringing James Reimer back from a Florida trade give me pause, because Reimer has two years left at a $3.4 million cap hit. While that’s not a back-breaker, it is another body to meander around in the goalie pipeline for our younger guys.

For the first point, (30 for 30 voice) what if I told you that Howard actually could be an upgrade?

Three Season Regular Season Stats

Player EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Player EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Goalie A 92.98 91.55 97.81 91.39 85.20
Goalie B 92.40 92.09 97.09 93.44 79.17
Regular Season Goalie Stats Corsica Hockey

2018-19 Regular Season Stats

Player GP EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Player GP EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Goalie A 40 90.72 91.44 97.64 85.44 84.39
Goalie B 38 93.27 91.94 97.19 94.29 82.99
2018-19 Goalie Stats Corsica Hockey

Career Playoff Stats

Player EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Player EV SV% EV xSV% EV LDSV% EV MDSV% EV HDSV%
Goalie A 91.30 91.85 96.97 92.27 76.47
Goalie B 93.14 92.58 97.63 95.77 75.13
Career Playoff Goalie Stats Corsica Hockey

If you knew that you were not going to have EITHER of these goalies after this season, and you were pretty sure your team was going to make the playoffs this season, which one would you rather have for the final stretch AND the playoffs? It’s Goalie B, right? Like, probably not close?

I probably don’t need to tell you that Goalie A is Bob and Goalie B is Howard. Howard’s overall ES numbers are really only slightly worse for Detroit over the past two-and-a-half seasons than Bob’s are, and Detroit’s defense is, how you say, not as good as ours.

Bob wants the 8th year in UFA, and Florida will give it to him. I worry Florida would want to dump Reimer onto us, but I wouldn’t do it if I were Jarmo if at all possible; Reimer’s buyout isn’t prohibitive, so the Panthers could easily eat that money. Howard has more playoff potential this season and isn’t on the books after the season to block a young guy.

2. Use Florida/Bob assets to package with other assets (Milano?) to trade for Matt Duchene or Mark Stone (contingent upon that player signing an extension).

This one would take a bit more work, I’m sure, but part of moving Bob is that you get some assets. Maybe a salary dump that could be flipped (a la Derick Brassard, or even Reimer). You part with a player like Sonny Milano because it’s getting to the point where it probably just isn’t going to happen in Columbus, and you don’t immediately weaken this year’s team.

If you can get Duchene or Stone and get that player to commit, if offsets (potentially, but I mean, really, at this point...) losing Panarin just a bit. You’re NEVER going to get assets back for Bread that match his value, but you can at least go out and get a guy that is a legit top line talent and lock him down longer term to lessen the blow of losing Panarin.

You’re probably thinking that that would mean you trade Bread to recoup some lost assets. Well, buckle up.

3. Keep Artemi Panarin for the rest of the season and playoffs.

If you make the two moves above, you’ve rearranged your goaltending situation with a minor regular season hit but a potentially HUGE playoff upgrade. You’ve added a legit forward to offset the loss of Panarin. You always knew you were losing Panarin anyway, and, again, you’re NEVER going to get his true value back in a trade.

So, keep him. Keep him and maximize what you have in the playoffs THIS season.

That team as constructed could win this division. It could make a push for the ECF. And, if you get that far, Tampa Bay juggernaut or not, anything can happen.

You lose Bread, yes, but you were going to lose him anyway and you probably weren’t getting a package that can help you as much next season as Stone/Duchene can. You managed to offset that for NEXT season by getting one of the Ottawa guys, and you maximized your team’s chances THIS season in the process.

If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But, you still get a legit top-line forward signed for term, and you were losing the goalie anyway. To me, it feels like the best outcome for THIS season with the least amount of pain/risk for next, given what we know about our guys’ plans.

What’s not to like?