another Bobby Clarke"). Sadly, things didn't work out that way. Over 3 years in Columbus, Brule played in 146 games, had 12 goals, 20 assists and a +/- of -27. The Edmonton Journal sums up Brule's early career nicely:
He was rushed into the league by the Columbus Blue Jackets way too soon because he was a first-round pick, and maybe there were tickets to sell and points to be made with the scouting staff. He got hurt, got frustrated, got a lot of time on the bench, then got traded for Raffi Torres -- a project (Torres) for a prospect (Brule).
He looks like an NHLer--maybe for the very first time, and he's now played 164 games.Google around, and you'll find that the words "Gilbert Brule" and "change of scenery" are almost synonymous. The poor kid had to leave town if his career was to amount to anything, and the Jackets gained nothing by keeping him around. The change did him good.
Anton Stralman, the newest Blue Jacket, has his own tale to tell on this front, coming from Toronto via Calgary. It was wonderfully told in the Columbus Dispatch:
In Toronto, he was caught behind Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina last season, and then in general manager Brian Burke's demand for "truculence" and "pugnacity" when he rebuilt the Maple Leafs' roster this summer.
Stralman, a 6-foot, 193-pounder with a soft voice, is neither truculent nor pugnacious. (For that matter, neither are the 0-6-1 Leafs).
"Last year, (Toronto) wanted me to change my game a little bit," Stralman said. "They wanted me to play more intense and tougher. That's something you can't change right away."
Stralman landed on a Flames club loaded with defensemen who possess power-play skills: Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf and Mark Giordano are the top three.
With roster cuts looming at the end of training camp, the Flames decided to trade Stralman rather than risk losing him on waivers.
"I would have been in the third pairing for sure," Stralman said. "I had a good (training) camp. I think I would have been in the opening night lineup."He's in our lineup now, and I think he likes it.
"It feels great to come here (to Columbus) and know they want me to play the way I've always played," Stralman said.
"It feels great to play for a team that believes in you and gives you an opportunity to show what you've got."LEGEIN
Stefan Legein has been traded to Philadephia for defenseman Michael Ratchuck. Legein is an interesting case; of all of the players that CBJ General Manager Scott Howson has shipped out since coming to Columbus, he hasn't pulled the trigger on one of his own draft choices. Until now.
Legein was Howson's second round pick in the 2007 draft. His career with the Jackets was largely unspectacular as he mostly grew into the adult pro game with the Jackets' AHL farm team in Syracuse. Then, on August 20, 2008, the strangeness that has become Legein's pro career began:
- Puck Daddy: Stefan Legein quits; one of the stranger stories of summer begins
- FanHouse: Stefan Legein Just Retired ... Or Did He?
I don't even know how to categorize this one. A young player burning out? A once top-of-the-heap kid realizing that he was now going to have to work to deserve the place he thought he owned? Both scenarios are very reasonable as I think we all can agree that the near-professionalization of young athletes leaves them with precious little time to, well, be kids. No time for that with travel teams, 5AM practices, etc.
But Legein got his taste of the Real World and realized it wasn't for him. So he traded the anchovies, mushrooms and green peppers and came back to Syracuse.
- Mattlund: Stefan Legein retires from pizza making (A little crude to be sure, but probably a realistic evaluation of how he was received when offering his mea culpa to Howson and Co.
- NHL: After hiatus, Legein proving he's back in the game
By all accounts, Legein's play in the 2009 Blue Jackets training camp was strong. He made it to the second to last round of preseason cuts, hanging with the big club until September 28. In six games in Syracuse, he has 2 goals and an assist. I haven't heard anything -- ummm, odd -- out of Syracuse since his return to professional hockey. Yet, borrowing a Rachael Maddow phrase, there's the taste that lingers.
Scott Howson summed up today's trade with Puck-Rakers:
Changes of scenery often do, Stefan. Just ask Gilbert Brule and Anton Stralman.
[Howson] agreed that Legein could benefit from a fresh start in a new organization.
"Stef never asked to be trade, to his credit," Howson said this morning in Calgary. "But I think he felt somewhat ... leery of how his teammates and the organization felt about him because of what he did.
"This is something that he probably feels will be good for him."