When will we land a gem?
Or do we already have one?
First off, I have to give credit to Light the Lamp for the inspiration for this post.
Puck-rakers just announced that Marc Methot has avoided arbitration and has signed a 2 year deal worth $975,000 in 2009-10 and $1.05M in 2010-11.
Not bad for a 6th round pick in the 2003 draft. I wonder if the "mouthpieces" will start calling Methot a gem like they do Detroit's Eriksson [sic]? I mean afterall Eriksson [sic] was a 9th round pick in the 2002 draft and scored a whopping 1g, 3a in 19 games last season. Methot on the other hand registered 4g, 13a in 66 games.
The Ericsson referenced is, of course, Detroit's rookie defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
After reading this blog entry, it got me thinking, when is Columbus going to get some credit? Now, before I get started, I have to admit, Ericsson playing a big role in Detroit is slightly different than Methot playing a big role in Columbus when you compare to the two rosters. And yes, I know very few lust after a young franchise slowly building what will become a perennial contender when three hours up the road you have the most recent edition of a dynasty in the NHL. Detroit also has a history of late-round steals, which is why many are quick to praise their players. With that out of the way, the argument remains.
Ericsson is praised and praised and praised for being a "diamond in the rough" and playing valuable minutes for the Red Wings this year. The 25-year-old defenseman was the last pick in the 2002 draft. The fact that he's even played in the NHL, let alone found a home with the Red Wings, is certainly an accomplishment. But why don't the Blue Jackets get similar praise for their draft successes?
Marc Methot was selected in the 6th round in 2003. Most draft picks are typically a roll of the dice. Columbus is getting some recognition for rookie sensation and Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason, a 3rd round pick in 2006. But I want to know, why isn't Methot getting any love?
Here are the scouting reports found on Sportsnet.ca for Methot and Ericsson:
Has outstanding size and defensive acumen. Plays a sound, stay-at-home game and rarely makes mistakes in his own end. Displays leadership qualities.
Lacks the offensive ability to put up points on a consistent basis in the NHL. Needs to use his large frame more to intimidate the opposition.
Owns the size NHL teams crave along the blueline. Has a projectable frame and all-around upside. Could log big minutes because he's low maintenance.
Is extremely raw in all aspects of the game, and needs better coordination in order to maximize potential. Must also use his size more to his advantage.
Guess which one is pegged as a "top four defenseman" and which is considered a "stabilizing defenseman" or in other words, a 6/7 defenseman? If you guessed Ericsson as the top four d-man, you were right.
Had Ericsson played an entire season, he was practically on pace to match Methot's point totals. As mentioned in the Light the Lamp entry, Methot finished with 4 goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 66 games. Ericsson tallied 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 points in 19 games. Ericsson, who is credited for his size, checks in at 6'4'', 206 lbs., while Methot is listed at 6'3'', 225 lbs.
Methot wasn't just a bottom pairing defenseman this year, either. He filled some big minutes on the second pairing next to Fedor Tyutin for most of the year, with Rusty Klesla down with various injuries.
All I'm saying is, these two guys aren't very different. Except one plays for the Red Wings. Ericsson did have a pretty solid playoff appearance, but Methot didn't get much of a chance. He also wasn't playing with Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, and Henrik Zetterberg.
As the 2009-10 season nears, the Blue Jackets are hoping to add an offensive-defenseman, and Methot could see reduced minutes, especially if Klesla stays healthy. I was a little on the fence about the Methot deal when I first heard about it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a good deal. He's just 24-years-old and still has room to grow. Columbus does lack a true puck-mover or a cannon from the point. There are certainly weakness to the defense. But there are some tremendous players in place that are continuing to grow and will excel with the Jackets yet again next year. Don't get me started on Jan Hejda or Fedor Tyutin.
Click below to view some Methot clips to whet your appetite for next season.
(skip to 1:55 for Methot goal, 2:25 for Methot deke and shot on goal, but please, Jackets fans, don't watch the rest of this clip for your sanity. Oh, Freddy Norrena...)
(Oh my how I can't wait for a full season of Derick Brassard.)