The Jack Johnson trade rumor has been the common topic among Hurricanes bloggers of late. Red and Black Hockey, Casonâ€™s Blog, and the Acid Queen all expressed their respective opinions concerning it. Of course I have my own opinion about this as well and might as well share it now.
First of all let me say that I think the Canes would be winners either way, whether we trade Johnson for Jordan Staal or not. This is a win/win scenario for the Canes and Caniacs. The question is would we be better off with J Staal or J Johnson and of course no one has that answer, yet.
Itâ€™s not surprising that this rumor still has legs. The Pens just signed their own Russian Phenom and they are loaded at center and weak at defense. The Canes have not tried to hide their wishes to unite the Staal brothers and OLN even interviewed them together before the draft this year and asked Jordan how he felt about possibly playing with his brother. It sounds like everyone from top to bottom in the league has heard about this rumor and usually that means that there is some truth behind it.
Some people say we need Johnson because we need a number one defenseman for the stability of the future of the franchise. Really? Who was the dominant number one defenseman this past year when we won the Cup? I donâ€™t think we had one, which means it is possible to be a winner without having a number one defenseman. Where did we get the defensemen that we had last year? Each and every one of them except Nic Wallin was acquired by trade or by free agency. (Glen Wesley was an unusual pickup, but still not drafted by us). Good defensemen can be acquired when needed. Letâ€™s look at some of the top paid defensemen in the league today. Niedermayer, Pronger, McCabe, Chara, and Blake just to name a few are not with the teams that originally drafted them.
In my opinion, if we can get J Staal for J Johnson, we should go for it. While Johnson has said from day one that he was planning to stay in Michigan and win an NCAA Championship, he remains somewhat of an enigma or mystery. It has been rumored by some that Johnsonâ€™s dad calls the shots with Jack. This may or may not be true, but Jackâ€™s dad has been outspoken in the press. When is the last time you heard Henry Staal tell reporters when and where any of his boys will play? Perhaps Rutherford doesnâ€™t want to chance an Eric Lindros type of situation? Even the most die hard Johnson fans canâ€™t be sure that Jack will ever play for the Canes if we donâ€™t trade him. According to the new CBA if he stays for 4 years at Michigan, he becomes a free agent in the August after his graduation if he remains unsigned. One thing about Jordan Staal, he will play in Raleigh, in Albany, or do anything else this organization asked of him if he was property of the Canes. The questions and mystery would be over.
I stand behind JR 100% whatever he decides to do about this particular dilemma. As I said at the beginning of my â€œramblingâ€, this is a win/win situation and an interesting one for discussion.