Bryan Murray made a splash on the weekend when he traded winger Nick Foligno to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenceman Marc Methot. It was a rare straight-up hockey trade, and the Ottawa Senators solidified the team's blue line in exchange for a promising prospect who's running out of time to prove whether or not he's a second-liner in the NHL.
Although Methot is a local product, he's a bit of an unknown quantity to the average fan (myself included) since he's spent the last seven years in the Columbus Blue Jackets system. With that in mind, I contacted Matt Wagner from The Cannon, SB Nation's Blue Jackets blog, to get his comments on the Senators' newest defender. This is what he had to say about Methot:
"Methot is a great guy both in the room and in doing community outreach work. He's got a very good, easygoing personality and I think he's going to connect well with Ottawa fans, especially when you add the hometown boy factor.
"Marc's a very solid defensive d-man, and he's started really using his body over the last couple years in addition to working on position and his on ice awareness. Where his game suffers is the offensive side of things. He's got a powerful shot, but he has trouble with the accuracy, and I think he lacks confidence in his skating ability when he has opportunities to join the rush or pinch in. He frequently hesitates in those situations and sometimes gets caught out if the play reverses.
"If, as speculated, he's paired with Erik Karlsson and asked to focus on the defensive side of his game while letting EK take care of the scoring, I think he's going to do very well. He had some maturity issues early on in his career, but I think that he's literally grown up while in Columbus, and it's no longer a problem on or off ice."
The description here is about in line with what I've heard of Methot's game: He's a defensive defenceman who won't wow you with his puck-handling skills, but will be reliable when asked to contain the opposition. Although playing alongside Karlsson might bring about a previously unrealized offensive aspect to his game (Methot's never had more than 17P in a season, not even in the OHL), I'm not positive that's where he'll be slotted on the depth chart next season. His position depends on a number of different things, including most importantly the growth of Jared Cowen.
Given Ottawa's struggles in their own end last season, the acquisitions of Methot and Mike Lundin should help the team reduce the number of shots against and--hopefully as a result, although it depends on goaltenders Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop--goals against.