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Spector's take on the Denis trade rumors.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I'd normally not be up so early in the morning, being the lazy guy that I am (note: I started this at 8 PM, then took a break). But here I am, reading articles and browsing the web. Either way, while scouring the NHL section of FOX Sports, I noticed Spector had an op-ed up with his opinion on a variety of ongoing rumors. One of them turned out to be on the Marc Denis trade rumors surfacing.

"Jackets GM Doug MacLean declined to comment on Denis' availability, but if MacLean does move him he'll then have to shop around for an experienced starter. There's a belief that the Jackets would thrust promising Pascal Leclaire into the starter's role but he's only seen limited playing time thus far in his NHL career."

While I respect Spector's take on the matter, and know that he has much more experience than I do when dealing in rumors, analysis and commentating concerning possible deals and league ongoings, I must disagree with his opinion that the Jackets would be in need of a new starting goaltender if they traded Denis away.

The whole point of trading Denis to another team is to make room for Pascal Leclaire (and get something good in return, of course). Denis has not been shy about expressing his opinion concerning sharing time with the younger Jacket netminder, and if Leclaire was going to stay a backup next year, we more than likely would not be trading Denis elsewhere in the first place.

Even if Leclaire is the official starting goaltender for this upcoming season, that does not mean that he is going to have to become the next Ironman Martin Brodeur and start nearly every single game.

Do we need an experienced goalie? Yes, of course we do, since we currently lack any prospects who could come up as a backup, let alone do well if they need to start a game or seven. But we do not need a starter. We need someone who can fill in for Leclaire when he needs a break, or happens to get injured. I admit that there's still questions concerning Leclaire's fortitude after an injury at the halfway mark of the season, as well as a possible injury while down at Syracuse for the Calder Cup Playoffs. But bringing in another goaltender and slating him to start would put us back at square one, where Leclaire is backup and once again getting shelved despite his desire to be the starter.

I want to add ... even though I fully support Leclaire as the starter for next season, I still have a feeling of concern about the fact we're trading Denis. Honestly, if Denis wasn't set in the fact he needs to be the starter, I'd want him back. And no matter how one spins this, it'll still be a risk to have Leclaire start without Denis around to bail him out if he can't play a game. But you can't really breed success without taking a few risks, and this is one I think is worth attempting.
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