directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Howson grabs Gratton

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Howson grabs Gratton

According to Puck-rakers:

The Blue Jackets have acquired center Chris Gratton on re-entry waivers. He had been playing in the Tampa Bay organization. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk of the AHL. He will join the team for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.

Forecaster's take:

ASSETS: Has a great combination of size and two-way savvy. Displays decent hands and a mean streak. Is solid on face-offs and sound defensively.
FLAWS: Has questionable hockey sense, which limits him in the scoring department. Isn't as complete a player as his package suggests.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Checking line forward.

Classic costco.

Certainly a low risk move.. I mean the Jackets will only owe him 150k to fnish out the season which is pocket change in NHL terms and then he'll be a UFA.

..but where does he fit and whom does he replace? No doubt the bottom 6:

Top 6: Nash, Voracek, Modin, Huselius, Umberger, Malhotra (I know.. but that's our reality right now).
Bottom 6: Boll, Dorsett, Murray, Peca, Novotny, Torres, Chimera, Williams (could be top 6 as well) and now Gratton

You can only carry a 23 man roster not including IR payers. With this acquisition I count 23 (including recent callup Rome) with Brassard, Tollefsen, Leclaire, Modin and Klesla on IR. Once someone comes off IR somebody's got to go.

My guess is it would be somebody in that bottom 6 group.. Novotny perhaps?

Gratton has playoff experience and is a big strong center who isn't afraid of the rough stuff. His style of game should fit in nicely with this current CBJ group. He's a worker who brings his hard hat to every game. Don't expect a whole lot offensively though as he's only got 2 assists in 18 games this season as he's spent quite a bit of time in the AHL.

Purely speculation on my part... but speaking of toughness.. perhaps Dorsett's bell is rung a little more than we've heard? Certainly wouldn't be the first time we haven't heard the entire story on health as it pertains to Jackets. Maybe Gratton's acquisition supplments some of that lost grit?

I mean who knew Tollefsen was hurt as bad as he is?

Bottom line is you can certainly never have too much depth this time of year.

It was also reassuring to read that this move would not prevent Howson from adding anyone come the deadline. With so many contracts stacked up though he'll have to move a player or two in return and adding a Gratton perhaps opens some options on that front.

Fire away - thoughts on the move?



The Guy You Thought Was Rude said...

Gratton does add depth, and he's bigger than Novotny. That's about all I can say.

Hitch Rules said...

(Howson) Dude gots skillz - another under-the-radar move (see Jay Will and Jan Hejda). If he's not in the top half of the THN GM rankings, then there's no reason to have those rankings.

Now, this frees up some forwards as trade bait. Shrewd, people, shrewd...

roadman said...

Depth and grit at a bargain price, classic Howsen. Sounds great just hope it doesn't turn into a Dick Tarnstrom, time will tell. Center has certainly been a depth problem for the organization so it can't hurt. Now if we can just find a little skill doesn't have to be a blockbuster.

stick on the ice said...

No question that Gratton is past his prime, but he has a mean streak that we'll need in the playoffs. I have just as much a chance to score from my couch as Novotny does on the ice -- so I think you're dead on with the theory that he'll take time from Novotny. I think this is a low-risk move that could really pay dividends in March/April.

Anonymous said...

I think its a great, low-risk move. This frees Novotny for the wing and also Umberger. Will probably be 1st-Manny, 2nd-J.Will, 3rd-Peca, and 4th-Gratton. I think it will be great. Good energy line would be Boll-Gratton-Dorsett. That way we also get some back-end faceoff wins too.

LTL said...

So much for Dorsett being hurts.... the only he did was put the hurtin on Mikkelson.