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Monday, August 15, 2011

Winnipeg Jets should trade Zach Bogosian: Why and Where?

Zach Bogosian
Apparently, Zach Bogosian has already rented a condo in Winnipeg despite still being unsigned. Good thing he didn't buy a house. I've already stated publicly my feelings on the Zach Bogosian situation. If his contract demands end up not to be in line with what he has accomplished to this point, he's a prime candidate for a trade out of the Jets organization.

Bogosian is from the US-Canada border town of Massena, New York, which is just over an hour away from Ottawa (apparently his favorite NHL team growing up). Bogosian has been traveling to Ottawa once a week this summer to train. While in in Ottawa, Bogosian had this to say (Aug 9/11)

“I’m looking forward to it (seeing the city of Winnipeg)...I’ve never been there so I can’t comment on the city, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about the city. I’m looking forward to going there...Things are good. We’re talking. That’s about all I will say...You’ve just got to sit back and let the agents and GM deal with all that kind of stuff.”

In another recent article, Bogosian's agent Bob Murray stated
"He can't go to training camp without a contract and we'd like to have something in place well before that...The best way to describe talks is they are ongoing. We continue to talk. (Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) is overseas this week so I'm not expecting to hear from him for a few days...We're just trying to determine where he fits in the overall market...I'd rather not get into comparables. I've been at this a long time and maybe you would call me old school but I don't like to negotiate in the media."

In the same article, an NHL executive said: 
"They (Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn and Zach Bogosian) were comparable players in junior but haven't been to date as pros...It's difficult to know what Winnipeg has in Bogosian at this point. He may very well turn into a fine player but that has only been demonstrated in flashes so far."

Mike Brophy just today said, a good source in Atlanta suggested the following: 
Bogosian's play was hampered by the fact that he was replaced on the power play by newcomer Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom. Both of those players are very likely to man the point on the power play moving forward as the franchise attempts to establish itself in Winnipeg which means Bogosian will have trouble putting up the type of numbers he did in his first two years in the league. That in itself may affect his desire to sign long-term with the team.

Having taken a closer look at Bogosian's TOI below, I can not concur with Brophy's good source in Atlanta. In fact, Bogosian's PP TOI was actually higher last season than in his previous seasons. Rather, it was statistical categories such as hits, blocked shots, give aways, and shooting percentage that he took in the wrong direction last season. Have a look below:

Zach Bogosian Analysis
Zach BogosianATL2010-11711:582:0118:2422:245026.73
Zach BogosianATL2009-10811:392:0917:3521:245125.24
Zach BogosianATL2008-09471:071:2815:3018:065121.43
Zach BogosianATL2010-11715121740130.24
Zach BogosianATL2009-108110132362150.28
Zach BogosianATL2008-09479101951130.4
Zach BogosianATL2010-11711111.6911.3155693.2
Zach BogosianATL2009-10811962.41241.5155826.5
Zach BogosianATL2008-0947671.4501.1903810
Zach BogosianATL2010-1171530.7330.5-20-0.28-27
Zach BogosianATL2009-1081520.6410.5-11-0.14-18
Zach BogosianATL2008-0947210.4320.7110.2311

I think the issue with Bogosian is more of a commitment, confidence or maturity thing. After Dustin Byfuglien arrived on the scene (with a cup ring on hand), Bogo no longer was 'THE Guy' on the blueline. And since he likely never will be again, WPG may better themselves by converting Bogo's rights into a top six forward via trade. 

The Jets' blueline already has its most prominent blueliner locked up long-term, and I would think Enstrom will get a long-term deal from WPG sometime this season. Also, Randy Jones' signing is an indicator that Winnipeg maybe prepared to move on without Bogosian. As a seventh defenseman, Jones' pay rate at >$1M is a little high for a cap floor team in my estimation. Not to mention, WPG has near-ready blueliners waiting their turn in Arturs Kulda and Paul Postma, both of whom got a cup of coffee in the NHL last season. 

Therefore, unless the new coach intends on playing Buff as a forward, the blueline corp is already pretty full, even without Bogosian. Below is WPG's projected roster:

Winnipeg Jets
Left WingCapGPPTOICenterCapGPPTOIRight WingCapGPPTOI
Andrew Ladd$4.4815920:04Bryan Little$2.4764818:27Blake Wheeler$2.6814416:14
Evander Kane$3.1734317:51Alex Burmistrov$1.5742013:13Eric Fehr$2.2522012:35
Nik Antropov$4.1764115:39Jim Slater$1.0361210:34Chris Thorburn$0.9821913:47
Ben Maxwell$0.712211:59Tim Stapleton$0.545711:06Tanner Glass$0.873108:55
Patrice Cormier$0.92129:38

Left DefenseCapGPPTOIRight DefenseCapGPPTOIGoalCapGPWSV%
Tobias Enstrom$3.8725123:41Dustin Byfuglien$5.2815323:18Ondrej Pavelec$1.25821.914
Johnny Oduya$3.5821720:43Zach Bogosian*2.8711722:24Chris Mason$1.93313.892
Randy Jones$1.2611317:03Ron Hainsey$4.5821918:05
Mark Stuart$1.754615:39Brett Festerling$0.6
Salary Cap$64,300,000
Cap Payroll$51,034,166Bonuses: $309K
Cap Space$13,265,834Roster Size: 23 players
* estimated cap hit

Colin Wilson
What WPG lacks is a young top six center with upside and size. NSH may have a spare one, if they eventually end up acquiring Andrei Kostitsyn. The fellow I'm thinking of is the 6'1" 215lbs pivot/winger, Colin Wilson

Why would Winnipeg want Colin Wilson? Well in addition to WPG's need for a dynamic player up front, Colin Wilson, who has the potential to be a top line player, was raised in Winnipeg.

As for the particulars, here's a trade value equation I think may be in the ballpark:

Colin Wilson + 2nd round draft pick for Zach Bogosian

Colin Wilson - Chet Pickard Winnipeg
Colin Wilson's family has deep roots in the Manitoba capital. His grandfather, Gerry Wilson, was the original WHA Jets team doctor and later a VP of the organization. Thus, his father, former NHLer Carey Wilson, grew up around the Jets, and returned to the city of Winnipeg after his NHL playing days were done. (He even came out of retirement to play a handful of games for the Manitoba Moose). As a side not, the Wilson family is quite close to the Pickards of Winnipeg as well. Pictured here are NSH goalie prospect Chet Pickard and Colin Wilson hamming it up for the cameras when they were teenagers. 

Why would Nashville do this deal? NSH GM David Poile did say he would be interested in acquiring a top 4 d-man during his most recent press conference. That's the type of player that could cost a team one of its young up and comers.

If big body Bogosian were to get sent to NSH, another plus would be apprenticing under similarly built, Shea Weber (at least in the immediate future if not long-term), and play in a NSH system that churns out NHL defensemen like a veritable top six blueliner factory. Also, when you consider Weber has virtually put a gun to the head of the Predators' management with regard to stating his roster improvement demands before re-signing with NSH, there is no guarantee he will be with the club for the long-term. A properly developed Zach Bogosian could be the ideal fill-in as he matures into 'THE Guy'.

Coincidentally, Colin Wilson and Zach Bogosian, pictured above together (Wilson is somewhat obscured from view by Sergei Kostitsyn), actually had a chance to play together for Team USA at the 2009 World Championships. They were also both drafted in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft, Bogosian 3rd overall, and Wilson 7th. Wilson still has a year to run on his ELC at $1.725M (which includes performance bonuses).

Also, this would not be the first time Colin Wilson's name would be attached to another team's RFA with regard to a possible trade involving them. Wilson was also mentioned as a target of the Boston Bruins during the Phil Kessel incident. David Poile had admitted interest in the disgruntled sniper at the time and looked ready to make a deal if Kessel would have been willing to sign with NSH. But Kessel wanted the big pay day the Leafs were apparently offering. Colin Wilson then obviously remained property of the Predators. 

Update 8/25/11:
During a TSN TV interview, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff had this to say regarding the Zach Bogosian negotiations: "Lots of takes time...with training camp, in some ways its around the corner, in some ways it's a little ways away...those conversations are still on going."

Update 9/2/11:
Dustin Byfuglien was arrested in his home state of Minnesota recently and charged with boating while intoxicated. This may have an affect on the Jets strategy on dealing with Zach Bogosian. If the perception is that Buff is unreliable, Bogosian will gain leverage in his negotiations. The Jets director of communications Scott Brown only had this to say at this point: 
"We're aware of the reports. We're still gathering information at this time,"

Zach Bogosian

Colin Wilson

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