One of the Blue Jackets' most gifted prospects apparently has decided to quit playing hockey, only three months short of his 20th birthday.
Right winger Stefan Legein, the Jackets' second-round draft pick in 2007 and a player who has represented Canada in numerous international tournaments, had his agent notify the Blue Jackets of his decision yesterday.
"Stefan has informed us that he's not coming to (training) camp," general manager Scott Howson said. "We're surprised that Stefan has decided that this is what he wants to do. We're surprised it's come to this.
"We knew there were issues with Stefan going back to last spring. We've talked through it with him and we haven't had any success."
Howson would not elaborate on those issues.
So what are they?
I'm sure some of the negative CBJ voices out there will spin this as some sort of massive failure on the Jackets part to develop their prospects but honestly I don't think there is much here to pin on them in this particular case (we certainly can't say that for everyone though).
The one beef I have here with the Jackets is how the scouts didn't catch the apparent flaws in this kid's mental fortitude? To quit as a 20 years old b/c of what appears to be a "loss of passion for the game" shows that the Jackets scouts missed on where this kid was at mentally. That said, perhaps that is why he was a 2nd round pick instead of a 1st and that it was a risk they were willing to take.
One thing we can say for sure is that the Jackets luck with 2nd rounders continues to stink.
Here is the list of former 2nd round picks:
Tim Jackman, Kiel McLeod, Joakim Lindstrom, Dan Fritsche, Adam Pineault, Kyle Wharton, Adam McQuaid, Stephan Legein, Will Weber & Cody Goloubef
With Legein out (for now) only Pineault, Weber and Goloubef remain with the organization from that group.
Don't fret too much though Jacket fans. Legein will be back. You just don't quit cold turkey on something you've done your entire life especially when you can make the kind of living a pro hockey player can.
He's young and he's making an in the moment decision that young people make. Once Legein has some time to reflect on his decision and realize what his future holds in the "real world" he'll be back at it. It may not come by camp but it will come. His father even hints at that with this quote:
"When does training camp start, Sept. 19 or 20?" Chris Legein said. "Until Sept. 20, he hasn't quit anything."
At this point though really the only person Legein is hurting is himself. If there is one position the Jackets could afford this to happen to it would be wing. That road to the NHL just got longer for this kid.
Oh and mad props to Bethany over at Bethany's Hockey Rants for breaking this story. She's got a great CBJ blog over there is a very passionate fan.
Discuss - thoughts on Legein?