Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Changes Left and Right

So ends the lazy summer as the past few weeks have brought several changes altering the face of the team, including the trading of starting goalie Marc Denis.

On Friday, the Jackets dealt Denis to Tampa Bay for left wing Fredrik Modin and goaltender Fredrik Norrena. A former all-star, Modin adds size (6'4") and needed scoring punch. Denis played solidly for the Blue Jackets despite having less than adequate defensive help throughout most of his career in Columbus. Good luck to Marc.

Shortly thereafter Columbus resigned Pascal Leclaire to a two year deal. leclaire, a former number one pick from 2001, began to supplant Denis last season. The team finished striong and Leclaire was a big part of the turn-around. He finished the season with a respectable 3.23 GAA.

The Blue Jackets followed up the Leclaire signing by resigning defenseman Ron Hainsey. The 25-year-old blueliner set a team record with a +13 rating for last season and was another part of the spirited play that capped the season.

Preceding these important deals were signings that should help with adding needed depth to the roster: defenseman Anders Eriksson, center Alexander Svitov, goaltender Ty Conklin and defenseman Tomas Kloucek. Eriksson comes back to the Jackets after being away for a couple of years, as does Svitov who played the last few seasons in the Russian Elite League. Conklin has been a solid backup for Edmonton (despite committing a notorious gaffe that cost them a game in the finals last season). The imposing Kloucek stands at 6'3" and weighs in at 235 pounds.

Columbus agreed on a contract with 2005 third-round draft pick Kris Russell.