Extra Attacker: Jets News and the Depth Chart in July (UPDATED)

Kevin McCartney
July 08 2013 07:04AM

Photo by haven't the slightest

Every week or two, I have a few thoughts. I've decided to call this the Extra Attacker. Sure, it's only July, but the Jets have made a few moves and perhaps tipped their hand about how the roster will look in 2013/14. Below we'll discuss the Pardy signing, the Montoya re-signing, have a look at the depth chart, and talk about what's left to do.

Making Moves

The Jets have made a few moves so far this off-season, though it's been somewhat haphazard. Prior to the Draft, the Jets qualified thirteen skaters including stars Little, Wheeler, and Bogosian who have all yet to sign. That didn't stop Cheveldayoff from adding Michael Frolik and his one remaining year at $2.3M on Draft day for #74 (John Hayden) and #134 (Luke Johnson). Chevy and the Jets also traded for Setoguchi, a move so nice we covered it twice (here and here). With those moves alone, Cheveldayoff stated the team was "much better." Still, the continued to add, signing Adam Pardy to a one-year $600K deal, and re-upping Al Montoya for the same. Three AHL players were also signed - Andrew Gordon (featured scoring his first NHL goal in the Penguins-Capitals 24/7 HBO special), Jerome Samson (once thought to be a likely candidate for top-6 duty in Carolina), and John Albert (a 2007 Thrashers pick with a solid College resume at Ohio State and a shaky two seasons with the Ice Caps). 

  • I think it's safe to assume the Jets were in on at least one of the 1b or backup goalies that signed on July 5, and turned back to Montoya when their target evaporated. The deal is too comfortable for the Jets to think they wouldn't have made it 2 weeks ago if they didn't have designs of improving at the position. Emery (1.65M, Philly) was a hopeful Jet in the Nation, but even Dan Ellis (900K, Dallas) or Anton Khubodin (800K, Carolina) could have bolstered a shallow depth chart in goal.
  • The trio of AHL'ers all have depth up-side to them - something the team had to know it was missing after Jim Slater's injury turned the team upside down looking for a suitable replacement. Cormier was qualified, but played just 4minutes a night when called up. Santorelli was taken off waivers but then used on the wing. Machacek - a first call up option in the Jets first season - was traded away and now Andrew Gordon comes in as that type of bubble player. Samson is Setoguchi's insurance policy (given that Seto misses 10-15 games every year) and can score for the offence-impaired Ice Caps.
  • John Albert... well, he's had a rocky couple years in the AHL, but Illegal Curve was excited about him turning pro in 2011 because of his penalty killing and two-way ability. They compared him to Shawn Horcoff. Obviously, he missed the mark - Horcoff made the show during his first pro season after Michigan - but that style of player adds organizational depth at a position that is only 3.5 players deep.
  • Okay, I've been avoiding saying anything about the Pardy signing. This guy is awful at hockey. I watched him in Calgary, I laughed when Dallas gave him $4M/2years , and I swore when the Jets got him. He had 17 games with Buffalo that (by advanced metrics) make him look like a shut down defender. In reality, that team was so bad and their corsi so low that his relative metrics are skewed badly. His raw corsi was -9.66 per 60 (5th) and that somehow translates to a RelCorsi of +5.3 (4th). HIs PDO on Buffalo was 1045 in his brief stint, bouyed by a .945 on ice save %. That's his best stretch of hockey by a wide margin, and he got buried. He's a frequent healthy scratch because of poor skating and poor decision making. But he is a giant - you have to give him that. 
  • Most importantly, I don't see how Pardy helps a defence group that is already very crowded but lacks high-end talent. Postma, Kulda, and Redmond are already competing to play next to Stuart and fill the pressbox and I'm not certain Pardy is better than those players. 

Depth Chart in July

Photo by clydeorama

**UPDATE: It seems Burmistrov has signed in the KHL. We talked about this possibility way back before the deadline (here) and it was an issue in evaluating whether Claude Noel should come back. Obviously, Noel got the extension, and we got our answer about whether Burmistrov would play for Noel again. 

It also leaves a massive hole in the lineup and I've changed the rest of the article to reflect that.

I've got this so far:

  • Ladd - Little (RFA) - Wheeler (RFA)
  • Kane - Jokinen - Setoguchi
  • Frolik - Scheifele - ?
  • Tangradi (RFA) - Slater - Thorburn
  • Wright
  • Enstrom - Byfuglien
  • Trouba - Bogosian
  • Stuart - Redmond
  • Pardy - Postma
  • Kulda
  • Pavelec
  • Montoya

Cheveldayoff was right about seeing improvement before losing Burmistrov. I like Antropov and Wellwood, but this lineup has a lot more balance and simply more NHL quality players. It also has more grit and size throughout, which the Jets have identified as a requirement of their 2-1-2 swarm forecheck. Perhaps this season we'll see some more sustained pressure from the Jets, who struggled to hold the zone when the top line was on the bench. 

What's left to do?

Photo by MattBritt00

Of course, the day I proclaim the roster mostly set, Burmistrov departs for Ak Bars Kazan and puts into stark detail just how shallow the Jets depth is. The roster has 23 players on it (assuming the rest of the RFAs are signed) with a battle on defence for the 8th spot and a hole both on the third line and the penalty kill, where Burmistrov was perhaps the best the Jets had available.

  • Though the roster is full, there is still obvious areas of possible improvement.
  • Let's deal with Burmistrov first. His depature means that after bringing Setoguchi in, there remains a huge hole at RW - this time for someone who can kill penalties, add some toughness, and bring depth scoring.
  • Matt Halischuk might be the closest clone to Burmistrov currently available (without the upside room for development), but perhaps Matt D'Agostini, Chad LaRose, or Brandon Yip will be considered. 
  • Better yet, the Jets could continue to surprise us this summer and bring in a quality NHL player - Mason Raymond (LH, attacks from the right) or Peter Mueller could be quality options for the wing. 
  • I would put money on Postma being the odd man out in the 9 defenceman shuffle. Redmond had an impressive showing in limited games as a Jet last season, has size, and is considered a 'multi-tool' defenceman, of which the Jets have very few. Kulda was never used, but was brought over from Russia and never sent down either. It seems he's getting an organizational push based on his flight risk. Alternatively, he just lost his job to Adam Pardy. 
  • Postma is, of course, waiver eligible. His puck movement is strong, but given that he made some very visible mistakes at 24 years old in limited minutes at the bottom end of the roster on the 17th place team, I don't expect him to be taken.
  • That said, bad teams often protect replacement level players irrationally (trust me - I follow the Oilers) and we might see Trouba sent out just to avoid a waiver situation. In fact, that may be why the Jets sought another LH, penalty killing defenceman in Pardy. Perhaps their depth chart has Stuart on the second line.
  • (Good gravy, if the Jets depth chart has Stuart on the second line, I think JetsNation may start draft previews in November.)
  • Thorburn might be considered a weak link in the forward group, as even on paper we can't hope for much. He played 6 minutes a night and spent some time in the press box last year. He doesn't kill penalties (even after Slater was hurt), and with additions in the forward group, his ice time is very unlikely to grow past his usual middle weight fighter role. A face-off capable (not ace, but capable) penalty killing specialist might be a better fit for a team that currently has to use its top line centre in all three disciplines. 
  • Olli Jokinen still sticks out like a sore thumb. The 2nd line boasts three wandering shooters, and while Kane can attack vertically, and Setoguchi uses lateral movement into the slot to finish plays that are moving from low to high, Jokinen mostly likes to skate behind his own net and take 60 ft wristers from space. He can't play tough minutes on a 3rd line with Frolik, he can't retreive pucks for Setoguchi, or support the puck for Kane. He's a high end player on paper without a fit on this team. 
  • As our own Travis Hrubeniuk said, Get Grabo Now
  • Grabovski seems like the perfect fit for this squad. He can distribute to play on the 2nd line (or even the first if Little gets hurt), he can play toughs if Scheifele emerges and forces his way up the roster, and he makes the players around him better. Scheifele could move to the right to round out that third line.  
  • Grabovski likely earns in the $4-$5M range depending on how much damage his exit interview about Carlyle really did to his reputation. Derek Roy signed for one year at $4M, Grabo probably requires $8M/2, or $14M/3. It's a steal for a team with such limited depth at the position - both at the NHL level and in the prospect cupboard. 

Have a different depth chart in mind? Something left for the Jets to do? Heard of a team looking for a $4.5M Pumpkin-Head? Leave it in the comments!

 

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Kevin is a regular contributor to Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart
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#1 Travis Hrubeniuk
July 08 2013, 03:26PM
Trash it!
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At this point I wouldn't be against moving Scheif to the wing (like he did at the World Juniors) and picking up Grabo to center the second line. Move Jokinen down to number 3.

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