In the dying moments of crunch time, news came over twitter from a number of sources stating that fan favourite Tom Sestito had been dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers for former Blue Jacket Greg Moore, and last year 3rd round pick Michael Chaput. Not unsurprising, mass histeria struck half of the Blue Jacket twitter fanbase as the idea of losing a guy who showed solid promise sunk in.
Personally, the deal confused me initially. Greg Moore was a Blue Jacket only a year ago. His numbers are fairly standard, and in all aspects, his play is dwarfed by the potential ability of Sestito. That said, after doing some digging into Chaput, it became fairly clear what Howson was after.
At 6’2, 195 pounds, the 18 year old center has amassed 55 points for the second straight season with Lewiston of the QMJHL. The analysis at Hockey’s future has this to say about him;
…the ability to contribute at both ends of the ice. Though not overly physical and needing additional strength, Chaput showed a knack for sneaking through traffic and finding open ice. A solid skater, the pivot took the majority of Lewiston’s face-offs over the year and finished with 51 percent success rating.
Certainly characteristics that look good coming into a bigger, better league. It is a difficult thing to teach players to find the seam in traffic, and if he works hard, two-way players are always of great value. Couple those with the dire need for a franchise number one center, and suddenly this trade begins to make sense.
While I can respect the appreciation for Sestito, who has a solid twitter following, along with being a bright spot in a rather dreary month of Columbus hockey, the bar has officially begun to rise in terms of quality play. With Boll and Dorsett on NHL contracts, the redundancy of Sestito begins to show clear. Couple that with the addition of Upshall, and suddenly players like Murray and MacKenzie will be fighting tooth and nail to retain relevance with the big club. Yes, suddenly, a Sestito call-up looks extremely unlikely.
So while I respect the appreciation and favouritsim shown to Sestito, I will respectfully take the road less travelled. I did enjoy having him on the depth chart, but I believe this move solidifies the necessary potential moving forward that will make this team stronger. Once again, Howson makes a move that I fully support, and his reasons were clear in the post deadline press conference. He wanted Chaput last year during the draft, and he finally was able to get him in a deal that did not cost the Jackets in an area they were not already strong in.
Carry the Flag!