Assuming Torres is over his knee injury from last season, he’s probably good for 20 goals, which more or less replaces what we would have expected from a healthy Vyborny, with more of a physical edge. Not a significant upgrade for the team IMHO, but he should help.
I’ve never given up hope that Brule would eventually get his mojo back and start becoming the player he was projected to be in 2005. It could still happen, and if it does, Howson could come out of this with egg on his face — it could be the Jackets’ Pavol Demitra moment.
With the pressure to make the playoffs this season, though, the deal makes some sense, as Torres will probably produce more in 2008-09 than Brule likely would have. So this makes sense in the short term — it does just come with the risk of looking really bad in the long run. Without many cards to play, though, that’s a chance Howson has to take.