directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Howson shoots... he scores!!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Howson shoots... he scores!!

As you've probably heard by now Howson dealt a 2010 3rd rounder for 23 year old defensemen Anton Stralman.

So much for Babchuk or Van Ryn eh? Hey I can certainly live with this option.

Stralman is a 6-1 200lb right handed shooting defensemen. Forecaster's take:

ASSETS: Has plenty of puck poise and on-ice maturity. Owns a projectable frame and offensive upside. Is good on the power play point due to a hard shot.
FLAWS: Needs to add more bulk in order to better defend against big forwards in North America. Must adjust quickly to the faster pace of the NHL, and avoid big hits.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top four defenseman.

Strahlman has played parts of two NHL seasons with Toronto totaling 4g, 18a for 22 points and a -12 in 88 games.

He was drafted in the 7th round by the Leafs out of Sweden in 2005.

I really like this move by Howson. Sure he's not the seasoned NHL d-man we would all hoped for but that ship sailed when ownership wouldn't poney up the dough for Erhoff.

So now on to plan B. B as in "Bargain Bin".

Clearly ownership wouldn't anty up for a seasoned d-man so Howson had to bide his time. No doubt they have been closely monitoring every NHL team's depth chart to see who may come available at an affordable price as camp winded down and rosters had to be trimmed.

Calgary, with their glut of d-men on 1-way contracts, had to make a move and they deemed Stralman expendable. They didn't want to lose him for nothing via the wavier wire so they make a deal with Howson.

So Howson pounces and gives up a 3rd rounder. Certainly a fair price for what Stralman brings today but more importanly what his potential could be in the future. He only makes $731,666 before becoming an RFA after this season. A number that fits into the Jackets budget.

The thing I like most about Stralman is the guy has upside. He's got some NHL experience so he won't be a fish out of water out there and he's got a skill set this team can desperately use.

Don't believe me - check this out:

The thing I love about Howson is he identifies something we need and he doesn't waiver until he addresses that specific need.

One thing I do know and that is he's a helluva lot better option than Martin Skoula. Skoula would have just been an NHL body the Jackets could lean on for depth. With Stralman the Jackets still get that depth but they get a player that could also blossom into a dymanic offensive defensemen they desperately need as early as this season.

..and by all accounts from Calgary fans, Stalman's had a great training camp.

He's certainly not perfect - especially in his own end - but that's the beauty of having a coach like Ken Hitchcock. Hitch knows how to get the most of his players and protect them in the lineup until they are ready.

I hope Stralman embraces this trade because he's going to get a helluva an opportunity here. That right handed shot alone gives him a leg up on the competition. By all accounts he can launch bombs for the blueline as well. When he's in the lineup he should get loads of PP time

This move also puts the heat on the top 6.. especially on a guy like Russell. Competition is healthy and should only raise everybody's level of play.

It wouldn't surprise if there isn't another move around the corner as the Jackets still have a traffic jam at wing.

Can't wait to see where Stalman fits in and if he can help ease our concerns about puck moving right handed shooting dman. His skill set certainly lends itself to fill those needs.

Something else interesting to note is that this is the 2nd deal Howson has made with Calgary with both deals poaching on Calgary's depth. Remember he sent a 4th round pick to Calgary at the deadline for goaltender Lalande.

I'll leave you with this Stalman clip:



Sean said...

What role do you think other Swedish players on the Jackets play in working with a young defensemen from their home country and trying to convince him that Columbus is a great place to be after this season? Or is this something better suited to the other, younger members of the team (Russell, Voracek, etc.)?

Rob Mixer said...

Ownership wouldn't pony up the dough for Ehrhoff? Not quite sure what that means, LTL.

Ehrhoff is not and was not unrestricted when Howson pursued him. They made a trade offer and San Jose declined--don't see how that implies "not ponying up the dough." Takes two to tango in the trading world.

I'm hoping you meant to reference another player.

theamazingraccoon said...

We in Sweden really belivie in that Stralman will be a really good player. He is always one of the greatest when the national team is playing and most of the guys here think he will be an asset for Blue Jackets.
I know he don't has good stats in Maple Lefas but that's beacuse he had a bad start and didn't feel the confidence from the coach. Hopefully Hitch belivie in him and put him in the top 4 and then he will shows his skill. I think this is great deal for us!

/Sorry for my english but i'm a Swede and it's early morning here.

LTL said...


I firmly believe that Howson could have easily topped what Vancouver offered for Erhoff via trade but that due to his salary the deal was nixed by ownership.

I have no idea if that is fact... just connecting some dots.


LTL said...

Thanks for the comments theamazingraccoon!!

We are all lookin forward to what Stralman can do in union blue. He'll have a great opportunity here.


eplagge said...

LTL is right, I think Howson's first choice was Ehrhoff but the Sharks insisted that we would take back a lot of salary on top of Ehrhoffs contract, something that was probably unacceptable to us.. Looking at eventual deal with Ehrhoff that would have been about 5M... no way (san) Jose...

Now we bring in a guy who brings a lot of skill and could round into a very very good offensive defenseman, he has the skating ability and soft hands.. Now Hitch has to get him to play his system and fix his defensive flaws. Something I feel really comfortable with because we have a lot of dependable Defensive Defenseman to back him up... I would bet a lot of dough that Hitch is going to pair him up with Tyutin, a very very methodical, dependable and smart defenseman who could cover Anton's rear-end.

IMHO here's the defensive pairings:

Hedja - Commodore
Tyutin - Stralman
Klesla - Russell

extra: Method... (that's a sweet lineup)

In Howsen we trust...

Mary said...

If the Tyutin - Stralman pairing prediction comes true, that is going to be a nasty nasty threat... talk about providing some serious power at the blue line. I don't know much about this guy, but thank god we got someone other than Skoula... he was making me a little queasy.

Stephen said...

Some interesting comments on HFBoards. Usually most fans will say "we didn't need him", or "we were overloaded there". Most Calgary fans disliked the trade based on Stralman's potential, pre-season camp, and he was better than some other defenseman on the roster. Interesting that they traded a 2nd round pick for him, and now give him up for a 3rd, after he had a good camp? Nice work Scott!

eplagge said...

Sutter is a pretty darn good GM so this should be seen as a last option trade. I would imagine the Flames were fully aware of their situation on D.. and probably tried to trade away a NHL defenseman or some depth Defensemen for a top 6 winger which appears to be their only needs as of now. Apparently Sutter wasn't able to convert a Defenseman from a pretty desirable and deep D group into a top 6 forward, I think that says a lot about this years trade/UFA market. Heck there are still some pretty decent depth guys available on the free market. You have to give Howsen credit for playing chicken and getting a good trade with the start of the season approaching. My gut feeling is that cap space is slowly becoming the biggest asset a team can posses.

roadman said...


excellent comment about cap space and it's management. Just one more reason for us to appreciate GMSH, who certainly appears to be one of the best at it. Probably the biggest reason the Erhoff deal didn't go down as you also mentioned. From what I am reading Scott has had his eye on Stralman for some time ala Vermette.

Thanks for your input enjoy your comments.