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09-09-2012, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Spokane, WA.
Weight: 215 lbs
How Acquired: Trade with Philadelphia, June 20, 2008 (acquired along with a 4th round pick (Drew Olson) for the 19th overall pick (Luca Sbisa) and a 3rd round pick (Marc-Andre Bourdon))
Analysis: Former Ohio State Buckeye RJ Umberger came to the Jackets during one of the franchise's lowest points, following the trade of disgruntled defenseman Adam Foote. Three solid years at OSU meant a bright future for Umberger, however he declined to sign with the Vancouver Canucks, the team that drafted him 16th overall in 2001. After a trade that saw his rights go to the New York Rangers, Umberger was signed to a free agent contract on June 16th, 2004, by the Philadelphia Flyers. Umberger starred in his first pro season with the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms, scoring 21 goals an 65 points in 80 games. The following year, Umberger became a regular with the Flyers, and after three solid season with the team, was dealt to the Blue Jackets at the 2008 draft.
Following his trade to the Jackets, Umberger quickly became a fan favorite in Columbus, and used his hard work ethic to help propel the team into it's first playoff run in 2009. Through the team's brief first playoff appearance, RJ was arguably the team's best player, and has since gone on to be one of the most consistent forwards the franchise has ever seen.
Pros: Size, blue collar effort, physicality, versatile, durable
Cons: Not a high level scorer but a complimentary piece, can he bounce back from a forgettable down year? Hefty contract price.
Realistic Expectations: I have RJ set into the second line left wing spot, and I think that's a fair hope for him. He's proven capable of scoring in the 50-60 point range, which is where I expect to see him at the end of the next full NHL season, and he's a reliable two-way player that can match up against just about any other line in the NHL. RJU is undoubtedly a key part of our rebuild, as this is the type of player that is in it for the long haul, and has to show the other guys how to work hard and be professional hockey players. I think he's a quality piece, and is exactly the kind of guy we want in that role.
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