Why Keeping Zach Bogosian is the most logical option
For some reason, rumours have been surfacing on the internet (shocking, I know) that the Jets are listening to offers for Zach Bogosian. First off, it must be stated that every GM in the NHL will almost assuredly listen to any offer for any player. I mean if Ray Shero was offered Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and two first rounders he would listen on Sidney Crosby. Listening, however, does not mean shopping. Those are two very distinct things, which get clouded through word of mouth.
The premise of this article is why would the Winnipeg Jets shop Zach Bogosian?
The Jets may lack offensive superstars, but is trading a defensive stud who has just completed his three-year entry-level contract the answer? Sure Bogosian has a lot of developing to do, but make no mistake; much of his development has already taken place in Atlanta. There is a reason he has seen an increase in his usage against the other team’s top players over the past three seasons?
Would trading Bogosian make the team’s strength a weakness?
More on Bogosian’s impact after the jump.
The Jets have a nice base on the back-end. The youthful mix of Enstrom, Byfuglien and Bogosian is a terrific group core moving forward. But the Jets’ defensive depth is somewhat overrated. This team did not perform very well defensively last season and the team does not exactly have a bunch of stellar defenders in the system.
The team’s most “ready” defensive prospects are Paul Postma and Arturs Kulda. Both players provide certain skill sets, but neither player is projected to be a top quality top-four defender, never mind top-two defenders.
Looking forward, the Jets only have two defenders under contract for the 2013/14 season; that being Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Stuart—two (Rick Dudley) contracts that you have to wonder whether GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would have given out on his watch?
Along the same lines, Johnny Oduya, and his $3.5 million salary, come off the books at season’s end, with Ron Hainsey off the books after the following season. Both players are overpaid but they are also better than replacement level players. The eventual money available after those two players come off the books may well be allotted to defense, but will defensemen anywhere close to the caliber and cost of Zach Bogosian be available at that time? Not likely.
That is the main issue. This team has a core of three young talented defenders. What if Byfuglien regresses though? What if Enstrom does not want to re-sign after his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season? Suddenly the team’s depth wouldn’t look so hot if a stud defenseman, who played against the opposing team’s best players last season, was not in the equation.
That is also an important aspect of this analysis. Enstrom and Byfuglien played together last season, with Bogosian shouldering the toughest minutes of the three. That sheltered ice-time would not exist without Bogosian (assuming they acquire a package centering on an impact forward) and Enstrom and Byfuglien’s production may thereby tail off.
Trading Bogosian likely creates a bigger hole than it fills. Besides, the Jets hold all the leverage. Bogosian’s only leverage at this point is to hold out—a result that is not likely considering the money he’d be leaving on the table. When was the last time an RFA sat out into the season? Has that even happened since the lockout?
As we wrote about a few weeks back, a two-year deal seems reasonable for both parties. Bogosian will want that deal so he can command big, big money after two seasons, when he will have arbitration eligibility (if the arbitration system remains the same under the next CBA) and will still be under 24 years old. The Jets, on the other hand, will want Bogosian to progress at a certain rate, especially offensively. If the NY native has not reached those levels in two-years, the Jets have the flexibility to deal him then or sign him at a rate in line with his productivity. In any event, they will not lose him for nothing.
Trades may seem sexy and rumors even sexier but in this instance, the “sexy” thing for the Jets to do is sign the top quality defender to a deal and get ready for October 9 versus Montreal.
Even with some rumors floating around, based on the job Kevin Cheveldayoff has done thus far, the rumors are almost assuredly more fiction than fact.
But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good summer story?