The Blue Jackets are pretty much done with our Free Agent Frenzy and unless you are a Blue Jackets fan you probably don't know what happened or what we got. We didn't sign a Scott Gomez or a Daniel Briere, we didn't sign a Sheldon Souray, or really any BIG name Free Agents. But, we did sign some guys who apparently are perfect for our organization.
First thing we did was sign Sheldon Brookbank the best defenseman in the AHL. We signed him with the hope of him stepping up and being able to compete at the NHL level now maybe not put up the same numbers but for sure help. We also signed Jiri Novotny, a first round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres. Novotny is a center who tends to be lazy (luckily we have one of the best coaches in the League to get through to these guys except Zherdev who is just a moron) but we are hoping he will be able to contribute. Our second line center position is up for grabs so time will only tell who will be feeding the puck to Modin. We then signed Jan Hejda, who is expected to be one of our top 4 defenseman. I have heard nothing but good things about him, and can't wait to see him in the ice.
Thinking about who we lost the only name that pops in my head is Anders Erikkson, who is a great defender and on a team like Columbus had a plus/minus of +12. Pretty impressive!! While I will miss seeing him on the ice, I am really happy that he signed in Calgary and I wish him the best of luck.
Rumors have been FLYING that the Blue Jackets are looking for a legitimate #1 goaltender either via trade or Unrestriced Free Agency. That is simply not true. And, trust me, I wish it was true. I have been saying all along that Leclaire is too injury prone. I absolutely adore Norrena but to be successful you need 2 capable goaltenders.
"Until you establish yourself as a bona fide No. 1 goaltender, there are going to be questions," Howson said. "Pascal hasn't done that yet."However, I do plan on going into this season with faith in Leclaire. I hope he shows everybody that he's not a band-aid and can split the time with Norrena. Leclaire is working out 6 days a week back home in Montreal. I really hope he steps up. He is set to be a Restricted Free Agent on July 1, 2008.
The Jackets have also signed Dan Smith and Derek MacKenzie to two-way contracts. They are likely to be spending most of their time with the Syracuse Crunch. Also, Howson has said that we are in the market for a goaltender to go in and back up Tomas Popperle, it will not be anyone with NHL experience though.
X-posted on HLOG and Bethany's Hockey Rants