Saturday, August 18, 2007

Now THAT Will Help Your Ailing Career!

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports UFA centre Mike Peca said he'd be willing to sign with the Blue Jackets despite multiple reports having him close to signing with the New York Rangers. Peca cited head coach Ken Hitchcock and GM Scott Howson as reasons why he'd consider it.

Now I do think Ken Hitchcock is one of the most underrated coaches in the NHL and he led Philadelphia to many playoff runs, after a scapegoat-ed firing from the Philly Flyers and now the coach of the under-developed Columbus Blue Jackets (I am being nice) - Mike Peca is now considering taking on a position with Columbus. This is probably due to Glen Sather not making a decision until next week.

I am not familiar with Columbus and their cap position today, but assuming they can pay him the $2 million he was originally seeking, it is likely they will sign him for only one-year. If offered, you can guess he will receive the same length of contract with the NY Rangers, though rumors suggest that he would take a salary of closer to $1 million plus performance bonuses, financial incentives based on the number of games he plays, etc. to play for New York.

Here is the operative question at hand. As an aging defensive forward and having missed half of last season with the Toronto Leafs, is a player in his position better taking a position with a highly visible All-Star Original Six team, one favored to be a Stanley Cup contender? Or will he stand out as the veteran forward on a team that is underdeveloped and never made it close to playoff consideration last season?

Maybe his agent is applying pressure by using the press as a weapon (the Sean Avery negotiation technique) or perhaps there is real truth to this rumor. Not that it would severely hurt the NY Rangers, but it would leave the Rangers in a position of having to further seek that defensive powerhouse they've needed from the beginning. Currently available, there are no defensive powerhouses that the Rangers can afford at this point -- so it leaves Blueshirt management having to seek changes in trading.

My belief is Mike Peca would be best off as a NY Ranger -- it would better his player-career situation and provide us with the much needed veteran, hard-hitting presence the third-line needs. It would round out that last puzzle piece we've been expecting. At this point in his career where scouts and owners are unsure of his quality and level of play, taking a position with Columbus at this point would damage his chances of ever making an impression again to other franchises. This type of negotiating behavior, this far into talks just pisses off managers like Glen Sather; his no nonsense, 'take your time' tactic is obvious and a move such as this very well may make Mike Peca the newest member of the Blue Jackets.

More this week.


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