A month ago, the Ottawa Senators flipped top-nine winger Nick Foligno to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot -- a blue liner long coveted by GM Bryan Murray.
With rumors abound about the team's interest in other defensemen -- namely Niklas Hjalmarsson -- and the loss of Filip Kuba to the Florida Panthers in free agency, the fan base collectively expected Bryan Murray to make some sort of move. The deal for Methot, in turn, wasn't surprising. However, the jury is still out as to whether or not the Ottawa native can actually repair a blue line that struggled mightily from time to time one year ago.
Methot was an interesting buy at the time. He's been lauded for his defensive game since coming into the NHL in 2003, and at the age of twenty-seven, figures to have a solid amount of miles left in his tires. However, he's hardly the puck-possessor or point-scorer that Paul MacLean desires in his up-tempo system, and has only eclipsed the sixty-six game mark once in the past five seasons.
There was a lot of hype about Methot immediately improving this defense when acquired -- perhaps a defense mechanism to justify the loss of a talented, yet frustrating piece in Nick Foligno. I don't know if all of it is substantiated, though I readily submit he's an upgrade over the departed Filip Kuba.
One of the things I heard fairly regularly after the deal was how Methot would make real strides coming into a roster -- and subsequently, role -- that offered more surrounding talent. It should be noted, then, that Marc Methot's most common linemates last year included the following: (1) James Wisniewski, (2) Rick Nash, and (3) Vinny Prospal. Not exactly slouches here.