Wilson began his free agent acquisition project with the least high profile of the group so far. Of Jim Vandermeer, he said:
“We were looking for something specific and I think he fills that for us. He’s very tough. People don’t like to play against him. He’s a great teammate. He plays very hard and knows the Western Conference well. He’s not afraid to drop the gloves and protect his teammates. He brings a nice intimidation factor that complements what Doug Murray brings to the group.” -Working the Corners
As I have learned to ignore what Paul Holmgren says he will do, so I put little stock in how Doug Wilson describes what he has done. He isn’t going to gives us a complete rundown on who he most wanted or who he could have gotten or why he decided not to re-sign so-and-so, or anything so revealing. He’ll say some nice things about the players he does sign and that’s that.
I’m not sure I can see why Vandermeer is better than Huskins for the team. I wonder if he isn’t just a change for sake of change. For a bottom-pairing defenseman, with near-ready prospects waiting in the wings, the move doesn’t pose much risk.
It may not seem like much of a compliment, but it appears that not posing much risk is a theme with Vandermeer. But it is a good thing. There are players who can get a team into trouble by being unpredictable or less than they need to be. Vandermeer is no such. As one blogger put it, Jim Vandermeer- He Is Who We Thought He Was.
It may not mean a lot but I like the fact that none of his last three teams moved him mid-season. He didn’t always play as many games as one might like, but I think it’s a good sign that his teams held on to him. During the 2007-08 season, he was with three different teams, and in total played 75 games. And he’s been a Flyer, twice.
Welcome to the team, Mr Vandermeer. May you be everything Doug Wilson thinks you are.