Having been placed on waivers yesterday, Colton Gillies has been claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. As Russo notes in his post announcing the information, this means Gillies gets to go play for Todd Richards. That tandem is almost certain to turn things around for the Jackets, right?
There will be some Wild fans out there that are really upset about this. What you need to do is take a deep breath and realize what just happened here. The Wild just offloaded a one way contract with zero benefit to the team for absolutely nothing. There was no need for a buy out, and Craig Leipold doesn't have to pay Gillies to be in Houston. This really is the best move for the Wild as an organization.
Russo points out that Gillies is a player worth taking a risk on for the Jackets because he is "physical, fast, and young." Agreed to all of that, but I would add something else: a complete bust.
More, after the jump.
Again, there are going to be fans out there that don't like this. The Wild just lost a roster player and got nothing in return. Gillies had a large number of fans here in Minnesota, myself included. However, he was missing what we like to call the "X factor." He just is not a NHLer. He is a prime grade, beast of a player in the AHL. Too good for the AHL, in fact. Yet, he doesn't have what it takes in the NHL.
Some will say, "he needed more time to develop." Maybe that is true. Maybe he can still pull his career together. Hell, the guy is only 22. Here's what I will tell you - I can't name anyone who went on to become a super star after being claimed off of waivers. His development was rushed, and likely ruined his career, but with almost five years since being drafted, it was time for him to bring his game or find the door.
It just happened to be the latter.
This move was a calculated risk for Chuck Fletcher. Either Gillies clears and he can be sent to Houston to further develop. Or, he gets claimed, and the Wild are rid of an anchor contract with another year on it, and they free up another spot in the 50 contract limit.
The best part of this?
Gillies is the second to last of the first round jokes that HWSRN drafted. AJ Thelen is toiling in the ECHL, Benoit Pouliot is in Boston getting ready to let them down any day now, James Sheppard was traded for a 3rd round pick, and we'll include Nick Leddy, since he was a pick from HWSRN's playbook. Leddy is... well, you all know where he is.
The only first rounders remaining on this roster are Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Tyler Cuma is in Houston, with mixed reviews at best. If I were a betting man, my money is on Mr. Cuma not being an NHLer. Nothing against the guy. He is a great guy, always nice when we have talked to him,but his injury history, and again, lacking that "X factor," I'm just not sure we ever see him.
As always, we wish Gillies the best. Hopefully he can prove the hockey world wrong and turn his career around. Nothing would make us happier.
So, Wilderness... thoughts on no more Colton Gillies?