directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Team Jackets

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Team Jackets

Just a quick couple of nuggets from today: just announced the roster for Team Canada on their new (and revamped web site). As most of have known Rick Nash, Pascal Leclaire and Jason Chimera will join Hitch in that tournament's first ever visit to North America.

Also joining him are some other big names including Toews, Sharp, Doan, Staal, Keith, Bouwmeester, Roy and Staois among others.

Tell ya what I hope Hitch doesn't get to comfortable with all this talent!

Team Canada certainly appears to have assembled a bit of a powerhouse here.

As far as other Jackets in the tournament I haven't heard of any other official announcements. There is the chance Zherdev plays for team Russia, Vyborny/Hejda for Czechs and Hainsey for the Americans.

Team Canada opens the tournament against Slovenia in Halifax on May 2.

Also in a bit of other news the Jackets announced that 2004 12th pick (271st overall) Grant Clitsome, a defensemen, was signed to a 3 year entry level contract. Clitsome played 4 years of NCAA D1 hockey with Clarkson University. He looked really good in prospect camp last year and is certain to spend a majority of his time developing with the Jackets AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch next season.

One thing this signing also tells me is that Howson is intent on strengthening the organization's depth defensively. Over the past couple of months he has traded for defensemen Aaron Rome and Clay Wilson. He also moved Sergei Fedorov for 2007 2nd round pick and defensemen Ted Ruth. He signed defensive prospect Nick Holden as an undrated unrestricted free agent from the WHL and now he's got Grant Clitsome under contract.

So that 5 young bodies he's added in short period.

Depth on defense has always been a problem for this organization and its clear Howson has quickly recognized this and is taking steps to strengthen it. As of today I would say our depth looks something like this:

Jan Hejda
Rusty Klesla
Ron Hainsey
Aaron Rome
OK Tollefsen
Dick Tarnstrom
Clay Wilson
Kris Russell
Marc Methot
Andrei Plekanov
Ben Wright
Nick Holden
Will Weber
Ted Ruth
Jesse Dudas
Kyle Wharton
Trevor Hendrix
Maxime Frechette

Hainsey and Tarnstrom aren't expected to be back. I didn't include any vets in Syracuse like Westcott or Smith.

One thing crystal clear looking over that list is just how bare we are in terms of top end talent. A need that is certain to be addressed by Howson this offseason (if not, get used to more high end draft picks).
We also have the 6th overall pick and if its retained, big*if*, this draft is busting out with high end defensive prospects. Bogosian, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Schenn, Myers, -- all names of top end defensemen that may be Blue Jackets come June.

In terms of organization depth though we are in much better shape than we were say 3 months ago....and you never know, a couple of those guys may develop into some pretty good players down the road and the good news is that under this Howson regime, we will let players develop the way they should.

Next step is for Howson to get this team some impact NHLers to help this defense now. A few of those names in that list could be moved to get it -- that's the beauty of depth.


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