One of the Riders biggest problems since the start of the 2014 season has been a lack of Canadian depth. Because of that, it’s no surprise the franchise has struggled for the most part.
The Riders lack of Canuck talent isn’t lost on head coach and general manager Chris Jones, he’s taken some steps this year to start fixing the problem and he took another step on Thanksgiving Monday by dealing a couple of veterans for some future pieces by sending offensive lineman Xavier Fulton and defensive end Justin Capicciotti to Hamilton for Canadian defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh, American receiver Tommy Streeter and a pair of picks.
The key to this deal for the Green and White may not be Gaydosh, who has had injury problems and hasn’t lived up to his billing as a high pick in 2013, or Streeter who remains unproven in the CFL. As Jones and company try to build Canadian depth, it’s the draft picks that could add some pieces to the puzzle next year and beyond. Yes, those draft picks are fourth and seventh rounders, so, the odds of finding starting talent at that point is unlikely, but you can still find useful players who can contribute on special teams or be serviceable backups. It’s in those rounds you find guys like Matt Vonk, Jorgen Hus and Levi Steinhauer. They won’t light up score sheets but can contribute to the team in other ways. Right now, the Riders have the ability to start the minimum seven Canadians, preferably you’d like to get that number to eight or even nine for injury situations, but an even bigger problem for the team has been poor depth behind the starters for when they do have to withstand injuries.
In this trade, the Riders did give up a Canadian in Capicciotti but what they did was swap a defensive end for an interior defensive lineman. That’s important for the team for a couple of reasons, first, perhaps Gaydosh will realize some of his potential and become a solid starter at a spot where the Riders need some help. If not, at the very least, he adds depth at position where they have a few more Canadians with three other Canucks listed at defensive tackle last week on the depth chart.
That’s not to say the Riders didn’t give up some talent to get what they needed, but they’re guys who probably don’t fit into the plan going forward. Capicciotti was a big splash for the team in free agency but it appears he just wasn’t a fit in the system. Fulton is still a serviceable left tackle but isn’t quite as good as he used to be. According to Derek Taylor, the CFL numbers guy at TSN, Fulton is middle the pack in pressures allowed this year.
Fulton: 14 pressures allowed–middle of the pack
Capiccoti: 10 pressures, 1 holding drawn, 2 missed tkl. Down season
— Derek Taylor ???????????? (@DTonSC) October 10, 2016
As for Streeter, he’s another big bodied receiver to add to the pile. He’s a former NFL draft pick who could push some guys in camp next year but right now he’s a warm body on the roster. Americans Naaman Roosevelt and Ricky Collins Jr are currently on the injured list and a report from CKRM’s Rod Pedersen is suggesting that Armanti Edwards and Jeff Fuller are set to join them.
When we look back at this trade in a year or two, this won’t be seen as the day the Riders turned into a contender, but it could be a deal that helped add some much needed depth.