The Jackets claimed 5'10" 180 pound 29 year old goaltender Wade Dubielewicz today.
It was a curious move considering the Islanders had just signed him after he and his KHL team agreed to part ways (oddly enough Freddy Norrena took his place on that team) but did not put a claim in on waivers. Any team that plays in Europe must pass through waivers before coming back to the NHL.
Howson and the Jackets must have received some news that Pascal Leclaire is out for the season and basically swooped in and scooped him up from right under New York's nose.
The Islanders are certainly kicking themselves (and cussing Howson) for not putting a claim in -- they had the first opion to do so. Certainly they beleived nobody would want this guy so why bother.
Here is the run down on Dubielewicz:
ASSETS: Is a great student of the game and works very hard in practice. Plays his angles well and lets the puck hit him on most occasions.
FLAWS: Must prove he can stop top NHL shooters on a consistent basis. Has limited physical talent, so he must to continue to work extra hard at his craft.
CAREER POTENTIAL: No. 3 goaltender.
Dubielewicz only has 37 NHL starts over parts of 4 NHL seasons. His best year was in 2006-2007 when he started 18 games, won 9 of them and helped carry the Islanders into a playoff birth.
If you recall the Jackets could have claimed Curtis Sanfore while he would cost a little more dough (he's signed for 650k this year) he does have 108 starts with 37w, 37l & 11 ties.
Not sure what Dubielewicz has over Sanford other than saving a few bucks. Perhaps it was just more of a timing thing as when Sanford was on waivers the status of Leclaire was still unknown.
It was a shrewd move by Howson as even though he played by rules, he certainly didn't make any friends within the Islander's organization today.
I wouldn't count on Dubielewicz doing a whole lot but if he can give Mase a rest on the occassional night, stay healthy and perform better than Lelcaire or Norrena...other than potentially burning some bridges here, it should be a solid low risk move by Howson although I think I'd rather have Sanford all things considered.
Howson has been active lately.
1. Pineault to Chicago for Blunden
2. Wilson and a 6th for Jason Williams
3. Roster claim for Dubielewicz
I still think there is a bigger move to be had here but that probably won't come until the deadline.