Scouting the Deadline: Jason BlakeFebruary 17, 2012, by
When it comes to trade scenarios involving the Anaheim Ducks, most of the focus has been on Bobby Ryan. It’s very easy to lose sight of the other players on the Ducks, pending free agents, who the Ducks are more likely to move come the trade deadline. The Ducks have six forwards that will be free agents at the end of the season, and only two (Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu) have some form of no trade clause.
Jason Blake is a name that jumps out when looking at that list. He has had some injuries this year that have limited him to just 20 games, but in that span he has nine points (5-4-9), that’s about a 40 point pace. Signed at $4 million, he fits under the cap for the Rangers as well. Perhaps the best part about Blake is that he would come relatively cheap, or at least much cheaper than Selanne or Ryan. He also comes with less risk than Rick Nash or Jeff Carter, as both of them are signed until I turn 40.
Blake is no longer the 40 goal threat he was with the Islanders, but he still has offensive skill that can be utilized from the left wing. His GVT is 1.3, but it’s 1.5 if you discount the shootout value that goes into his overall GVT. When you adjust that GVT over 80 games, it comes in around 6.0, which is the equivalent of about two points in the standings.
Blake’s defense isn’t something to write home about, but he isn’t exactly a liability in his own zone. Blake starts about 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone (48.8%), but that generally isn’t against the opposition’s top line (QUALCOMP of -.041). He also boasts a Relative Corsi of 9.6, meaning he and his teammates generally have the puck more often than not while on the ice. Put all this together, and you have a forward who generally plays against second or third line competition, starts half of his shifts in the offensive zone, and maintains puck possession.
In short, Blake is a decent offensive player who isn’t exactly going to make you cringe when he’s playing defense.
Blake isn’t a guy who’s going to throw his body around much, as he average a little less than a hit per game. His blocked shots aren’t up there, but that doesn’t mean much considering he isn’t exactly put out there for defensive purposes, including the penalty kill. I personally haven’t watched much of Blake, so I can only infer by looking at stats.
The Rangers aren’t going to mortgage the future for a Cup run, and while names like Nash, Ryan, and Carter sound sexy, they aren’t the realistic targets for this club. The realistic guys are the ones that plug holes or compliment other players as the Rangers gear up for the playoffs. Blake won’t cost much (best guess is a mid level prospect and/or a mid round pick), and he gives the Rangers a viable option at left wing, even at 38 years old.