directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: What is Howson really doing in Russia?

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Friday, April 11, 2008

What is Howson really doing in Russia?

Puck-rackers let us in on the fact that GM Scott Howson will be leaving for Russia this weekend to scout the U18 tournament.

For those that don't know, the U18 tournament is really the last time for prospective draft picks to shine before the NHL Entry Draft at the end of June. The tournament takes place from April 13th - April 24th and involves 10 countries.

I don't see any rosters published yet but with the fact the Jackets are holding two 1st round picks, including #6 overall, this is a good opportunity for Howson to see some of the blue chip prospects one last time including highly touted Russian Nikita Filatov as well as top Canadien prospects Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers (who is actually American born) and Colten Teubert among others.

Getting off track from a second. Keep an eye on this Filatov kid. He's a very interesting story. He is said to be the best forward not named Stamkos and some have even said there is not a whole lot of difference between the two in offensive skill. He's said to have a very good head on his shoulders and plays a good 2-way game. Of course the transfer agreement hangs out there but what makes him different than say, Cherepanov last year, is that this kid has come out on numerous occasions and said that he will play in North America next year and is willing to work his way up the American League. This kid would be a sure fire top 5 pick if the agreement was in place but when you hear that kind of attitude he may still be. He could also slide to us in the 6th if we retain the pick -- would Howson gamble? We could certainly use the offense but we don't want another Zherdev on our hands either.

The blog also mentions that Howson will be meeting with 2007 4th round pick Maxim Mayorov. If you recall, Mayorov was widely speculated to go in the first round last summer but due to the transfer agreement (or lack there of) he dropped like a rock. Howson traded 3 fith round picks with Dallas to jump up into the 4th round and grab him. Apparently Howson will meet with Mayorov and his reps in an effort to get him to North America next season to continue his development. He is currently buried in the Russian leagues and just judging by his numbers (he has just 1g in 10 games with Kazan Ak-bars) he doesn't seem to be developing.

Makes sense right?'s another thought. Is there a chance he also meets with Alexandre Svitov in an effort to get him back over to North America next season? Of course to jog your memories, Svitov was signed to a two year deal last summer but later decided to stay in Russia and play for his home team Omsk Avangard.

Looking over Svitov's stats he played 54 games with Omsk, racked up 10g 11a and a 140 PIMS. Apparently he was also named captain of the team.

With Michael Peca not expected to be resigned this offseason there is a glaring hole on our 3rd line that I'm sure Svitov could fill. He's only 26 and his 6'3" 200lb frame would fill that role nicely.

The question is would he be interested in returning? Would the Jackets even be interested in having him back?

My opinion, I'd take him back if he was willing. I was pretty pissed last year when he bolted but we could use his size and toughness in the lineup and I think a 3rd line center role would suit him well. At 1.25 million could we really find a better option? Its a good price and allows us to more financial flexibility to fill bigger holes higher up the lineup this offseason.

Another possible story line to keep an eye on this summer.



Anonymous said...

Here is the Canadian roster for the World U18 tournament.

Anonymous said...

I'd have him back. I liked him and was looking forward to him developing into a solid 3rd liner. The numbers he put up in Russia aren't exactly that great, however, in a league that is far inferior to this one.