The Return of Ray Whitney
Disclaimer- the intention of this post is to create conversation, I am not trying to fabricate rumors, I am just putting a thought on paper (or on screen?).
Here's what I'm thinking- trade for Ray Whitney. It's not because we need more scoring- this incarnation of the Jackets can certainly do that. The reason I want to bring The Wizard back to Columbus is two-fold:
1) He's a veteran, and he's won a cup. He can be the kind of voice in the room this team could use right about now. A guy who's been in battles before, who can work with the young guys and bring them back to buying-in to the coaching staff.
2) He's familiar with the organization, mind you there are a new coach and GM running the show now, but the fact remains he is a familiar site for Columbus fans. He's also played with Rusty and Nasher before as a Jacket, and won a cup with Mike Commodore. Nash, Rusty and Commie are part of the leadership group that Hitch uses to communicate, so adding a player who already knows those three and who is a veteran himself would just add to the leadership in the room.
The Hurricanes are more than likely in sell-mode. Nothing will happen over the Christmas break due to the roster freeze, but I think in the new year this is a move that would benefit the Jackets immensely. Again, the issue with the Jackets isn't scoring, but it doesn't hurt to have a player like Whitney in the lineup. Last year he led the Hurricanes in scoring, he finished with 24 goals, 52 assists for 77 points. He also played in all 82 games. He's an unrestricted free-agent at the end of this season, so the Jackets won't be on the hook for anything past this year if it doesn't work out. He's making a reasonable 3.55 million this season, and with half of it off the books by January, the Jackets would only need to take on about 1.75 million, something I'm willing to bet the ownership would agree to. My guess, and I could be way off-base, is that he could be had for a second round pick and maybe a later pick. I'm not talking about trading Nikita Filatov or any other major piece, or the first round pick for that matter. A second and fifth should get it done. It would help the 'Canes by adding some picks, which are much-needed to stock their weak prospect pool.
This isn't an earth-shattering move, but it could pay off in a huge way for the Jackets. Sometimes all it takes to turn a team's season around is a move like this- to bring in a new voice (or in this case, an old voice) who can help deliver the coach's message. With Rusty out for a long period of time, Whitney could fill the leadership void and also contribute to the offense. He can run a powerplay as well, taking some heat off of Brass, allowing him to simplify his game.
I'd love to hear what folks have to think about my proposal, good move, bad move? Fire away in the comments!
Do you think acquiring Ray Whitney woud be good for the Blue Jackets?