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: