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The Rumor Mill: Marc Denis

Friday, June 23, 2006
First, the article by Michael Arace of The Columbus Dispatch ...

Denis mentioned in two potential deals with Lightning

Summing up what is mentioned, we have two situations:
Columbus gives Marc Denis.
Tampa Bay gives Ruslan Fedotenko, John Grahame, and a 2nd round draft pick.

Or ...

Columbus gives Marc Denis and their 1st round pick (#6).
Tampa Bay gives Frederik Modin and their 1st round pick (#15).

My take:
The first thing that should be pointed out -- and I thank a fellow poster over at Livejournal's hockey community for mentioning this -- is that Tampa Bay has no 2nd round pick. They gave away their 2nd round draft pick (#47), and that is now in the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes. There's the possibility that the 2nd round pick is in relation to a future pick in the 06-07 draft, but that's a pretty key part of a rumor to omit, accidentally or otherwise. So with this in mind, let's consider the first rumor impossible, null and void.

The second, however, is more plausible. However I'd be somewhat wary of giving away Denis for someone pushing 32 years old. Modin is a good, solid player, no doubt about it. He's been solid the past few seasons, and I would say in terms of comparing a goalie to a winger, he and Denis are about on the level.

This draft also doesn't seem to have much depth. The top prospects are all great, even if they're not all going to turn out to be Ovechkins, Crosbys, or even Phaneufs. But once you get around the middle of the pack, most people tend to agree that the skill plateaus and drops suddenly. Giving up the #6 pick when there is a strong chance that someone like a Kessel, a Backstrom, or even a Johnson might slip through the cracks because of a surprise pick ... it's very risky, in my humble opinion.

But there's no way around the fact that Denis looks to be on his way out, even if it isn't Tampa Bay that becomes his final destination. Pascal Leclair turned last season into his own break-out rookie season while not getting much notice beyond fans of the Blue Jackets. Regardless of this, he played well, he played solid, and barring injuries, he looks ready to take on a more stable, starter role with the team.

This, of course, leads to problems with Denis. Denis has made it abundantly clear that he is not happy with the role of backup, nor is he happy with sharing the starting role (Leclair also seems to feel the same).

Because of this, the odds are stacked against Denis. He's still a great goaltender, and any team that gets him will definitely appreciate his talents and skills. But Leclair is notably younger, and still has room to grow and thrive. Unless something unexpected happens, look for Denis to be looking into addresses in the suburbs of Tampa Bay; or pretty much anywhere else looking for a goalie on the market.

Regardless ... if Marc Denis does depart, that'll be one more inaugural Blue Jacket no longer with the team. Whether or not you feel Denis would be the better goaltender for Jackets, it will be sad to see him leave through either free agency or a trade, whenever it happens in his career.

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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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