Just back from a visit catching up with some old friends on bucolic Denman Island off the coast of Vancouver Island. Pictured is the largest commercial structure on Denman and, when I visited it last night, it was exactly as portrayed. I had the
opportunity misfortune of getting into line behind one of many Denman Island icons named “Johnny”.
Johnny is just one of many “characters” on Denman including other residents, either full time or part time, like X Files star Jillian Anderson, world renowned glass blower Robert Held, a bevy of environmental scientists and activists as well as the detritus of the American draft dodgers who escaped into the back country and remain there until today.
But Johnny has his own special charm and I had a first hand experience of why he is one of the most well known residents of the island.
Johnny’s main claim to fame is his legendary lack of personal hygiene and, when having the
opportunity misfortune to line up behind him at the stores’ till/liquor counter I received a gift that just keeps on giving…just like when your dog gets sprayed by an annoyed skunk.
Johnny (who appeared in the General Store shirtless, with the filthiest pair of jeans I had ever seen allowing the display of at least 6 inches of plumbers’ butt and with a 8 inch Bowie knife hanging from his rope belt) treated me to his special gift and my friends explained that, folks on Denman, when sniffing their own armpits for any offensive odours will say things like “yeah, I’m a Little Johnny today” or “good grief, I’m Full Johnny today, , I’d better have a shower”.
Which brings us naturally to the subject of Johnny Boychuk.
There is palpable trembling in some quarters of the Oiler blog world that Johnny Boychuk should be a target for a massive, long free agent contract in the offseason.
Oops…wait a minute?
Ask yourself…what would Dean Lombardi do?
Well, I think it’s reasonable that Dean would first identify his teams’ “window to win” and only when he was absolutely sure that was going to be in the next 1 or 2 seasons would he commit huge long term dollars to a 31 year old defenseman who isn’t even the Islanders best defenseman (Nick Leddy is…go look it up yourself.)
While signing Boychuk to, say a $6 million 5 or 6 year contract might not be the “Full Johnny”, I would wager who ever the Oilers GM is after Craig MacTavish finishes blowing off both of his feet, would be asking himself if he was a “Little Johnny” with an aging defenseman on a bloated contract and a team still not good enough to be contender.
There a lot of miles to go before the Oilers can consider themselves any kind of threat in the WC and acquiring an expensive rearguard is not only foolish in and of itself, a contract like that would severely limit the cap flexibility that the overspending Oilers will need in the next 2-3 years.
No, Dean would use some of his excess forwards (remember than the Oilers will likely soon have another high end forward from the draft and also have Draisaitl on the way) to trade for a young defenseman (the 23 year old Nick Leddy would have been perfect but that train has sailed) with sure 1st pairing potential.
Oliver Ekmann-Larsson fits that profile perfectly and while Arizona would surely be loathe to move him, the Oilers do have the “marketable” assets that the Coyotes desperately need.
It would take a game changing, BOLD move by McTavish to make that deal happen but, if the Oilers draft one of the high end forwards this year, they could more comfortably move one of their “core youngsters” to make it work.
That’s what Dean would do.