Witt's End

ARTHUR:
Anaheim calling to the hockey world...

I'm gripped with a palpable fear now that Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt has hit unconditional waivers. It's the fear that the Ducks will sign him. Why? Because Brendan Witt was a key member of the Capitals lineup during Randy Carlyle's tenure as an assistant coach in Washington.

Now, I don't generally have a problem with taking a chance on a guy after he's been bought out (which Witt will likely be). After all, it was just thirteen months ago that I suggested the Ducks take a chance on Jay McKee, who I thought would (and did) take a sizable pay cut considering the buyout money he pocketed. I also don't have a problem with taking a flyer on a guy you remembered as good once upon a time, though when you look at the list of recent Ducks that carry a potential job recommendation from Murray or Carlyle, it's a mixed bag:

Recent Ducks that played for the Caps while Carlyle was in Washington:

Brian Sutherby
Ken Klee
Steve Eminger

Recent Ducks that were drafted into the Blackhawks system while Murray was in Chicago:

Michael Leighton
Kent Huskins
Kyle Calder

Add to that the fact that Murray's last first-round draft pick in Chicago, Steve McCarthy, came to training camp last year and that the GM was rumored to be interested in a trade for former Hawk, Ethan Moreau, and we start to home in on my problem with this, namely a front office whose development crystal ball only sees the past.

If the Ducks had put Luca Sbisa on the ice last year instead of Boynton or Eminger, I wouldn't have called it rebuilding. I would've just called it "a good decision." There will be attractive low cost solutions this year, of course there will. Witt is a great character player, who has the goods in terms of courage and heart, but he's battling through injury and age and the stats aren't there. Not even his recent AHL stats are "there."

Regardless of how many games played he has and how many fans he has behind the bench or upstairs, I don't think the Ducks should take a chance on a guy who ONCE did it at the expense of young players who CAN do it. Call it Sbisa Mathematics.

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