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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another option


Puck-rakers has just posted the following:

The Dispatch has learned that defenseman Martin Skoula has signed a tryout agreement with the Blue Jackets.

Skoula, 29, is a big man (6-3, 225) who plays like a smaller man. He possesses decent offensive skill, but had a hard last few seasons with the Minnesota Wild. Skoula was in camp with Florida on a tryout agreement, but was released from that deal recently when the Panthers signed Dennis Seidenberg.

Forecaster's take on Skoula:

ASSETS: Is a solid two-way defenseman with excellent offensive potential. Owns a very projectable frame.
FLAWS: Still gets himself caught out of position too often, or makes the wrong play at the wrong time. Needs to use better judgment in the defensive zone and boost his production level.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top four defenseman.


He also shoots left.

He also rang up 4g, 12a and a -12 in 81 games for the Wild last season. His career high in points came back in the 2001-2002 season when he posted 31 points with the Avalanche. The last four seasons however he has failed to crack that 20 point barrier.

My reaction? Well if nothing else it's another option.

Clearly Howson and Hitch remain concerned about our blueline and are staying active out there. This also tells me that after two weeks of camp nobody within the system has really jumped out and grabbed a spot.

While Skoula is certainly not the answer to our puck moving problem he would provide depth as an legit NHL body which is a plus.

For Skoula he has a real shot comin here. He's got 9 seasons worth of NHL experience behind him and a bunch of injuries already piling up on the Jackets blueline working in his favor.

That -12 and -16 in the defensive responsible Wild system is a huge red light however. Skoula will need to show quickly he can be responsible in his own end if he hopes to get a contract offer.

He certainly won't want to repeat this performance:



Not sure what his chances will be coming into camp this late in the game and if he were to get offered a contract no doubt it would be a 1 year deal under the 1 mil dollar range.

This is a classic low risk high reward Howson move. We'll see where it goes.

Thanks to Max for the heads up on the news!

Fire away - thoughts on Skoula?

-LTL

6 comments:

eplagge said...

He's an offensive defenseman that should count for something, but that's about it.
I think this shows how though it has been for Howsen to find us that missing piece on defense more then anything else.. My guess would be he gets signed on the cheap for 1 year until Moore or Clitsome is ready to take over his spot. Looking at other people's assessment of him on various websites I get the following image:

Top 6 D-man
Large Frame, but soft
Dependable, can play the big minutes but can make uncanny mistakes when pressured.
Offensive upside is pretty slim from what I read.

Reading this summary I keep thinking Backman ??

However according to the Dispatch, Lemaire liked him.. I don't think Lemaire would like Backman..

Art said...

Love the Benny Hill music on the video.

Max said...

I'm not sure how I feel on this one. I mean, the guy felt like the Florida Panthers would give him a better shot than the Jackets.

As LTL pointed out, he is a minus player, and he is soft. Not the type of player Hitch likes. And in Minnesota, his offensive "upside" was minimal.

But, we do need someone who can shoot, and I'll admit I used to follow the Colorado Avalanche very closely. I've seen the guy play, and he can be a pretty decent player.

LTL is right though. This is VERY low risk. We have to pay him something like $100 a day. If he doesn't work out, looks like he'll be heading to Europe.

CBJ_Nut said...

Strange. Low risk, maybe. But, does this signal a certain bit of desperation from Howson. When I hear comparisons to Backman, the hair on the back of my neck starts to bristle.

LTL said...

The Backman comparison is bang on eplagge... that is scary.

The good news is that we wouldn't be paying him a Backman like 3 mil+ salary to be a 7th dman.

Also I know what you mean about Howson being desperate but I would describe it a little differently.. I just think his hands are really tied by the budget and has to shop on the bargain bin.

I mean let's face it there is no way he wouldn't have beat that Vancouver deal for Erhoff if he could take the salary. I also believe Van Ryn is a prime target in Toronto but the fact that Toronto won't take back any of our salary is preventing anything from happening there.

On a positive note.. Watching a replay and Brass just scored against the Avalanche.. Man did Raycroft ever stink in this game!

-LTL

CBJ_Nut said...

I would love to know what avenues Howson has been pursuing over the past several weeks to obtain an offensively-minded defenseman, I really really would. The old "fly on the wall"-type deal. My guess is that he has been making lots of phone calls, etc. but nothing has materialized. Might be wrong. But, doesn't the salary cap become a firm ceiling come the start of the season? So, maybe there still is a chance.