Yesterday I blogged about how Columbus' waiting game, may help them economically. Today I'd like to take a look at who Eklund is reporting to be interested in playing for Columbus. I will look at his recent list of top 35 UFAs from July 25th.
<i>Note: I have removed Jussi Markkanen since he has signed in Europe</i>
<h3>#5. Andy Sutton</h3>
<b>2007 Team:</b> Atlanta Thrashers
<b>Quick Bio and Analysis: </b>Andy Sutton is a 32 year old veteran from Kingston, Ontario and a Michigan Tech alumnus. He has played 432 games with 105 points in the NHL. He made $2 million last season. Sutton missed 27 games with an ankle injury last season. He has a very hard shot, but isn't the most mobile of players.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> I think Sutton would have the potential to be a good fit. With his shot he could help create some more offense. The only downside I could see is that he may need to become a stay-at-home defenseman in Hitchcock's system.
<h3>#10 Josef Melichar</h3>
<b>2007 Team:</b> Pittsburgh Penguins
<b>Bio and Analysis:</b> Josef Melichar is a 28 year old Defenseman from the Czech Republic. Last season he made $750k. In his NHL career, Melichar, has played 310 games, scored 7 goals, 33 assists, as well as a -26. The negative factor for these stats, could be attributed to the fact that Melichar has played for the Penguins his entire career. Last season Melichar played 70 games scored 1 goal, 11 assists, with a +1.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> This will be a new start for Josef Melichar. A stay-at-home defenseman will be a good fit for the Blue Jackets' system. However, I do hope that Melichar can be more productive if he does end up signing with Columbus.
<h3>#12 Jason Allison</h3>
<b>2007 Team:</b> Did not play (played with Toronto in 2006)
<b>Bio and Analysis:</b> Jason Allison is a 32 year old veteran from North York, Ontario. He has played in 552 games in his NHL career, totalling 154 goals, 334 assists, 485 points with a +17. He is a great face-off center, and has the ability to see the ice well, but he does not skate well.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> He would definately make a good addition, however he may come with a hefty price tag. Also, Allison has only played 4 of the last 7 seasons, making him somewhat of an injury-prone problem. Overall, the Jackets are hurting for some good offense, and Allison could be a spark plug.
<h3>#19 Ossi Vaananen</h3>
<b>2007 Team:</b> Colorado Avalanche
<b>Bio and Analysis:</b> Ossi Vaananen is a 26 year-old defenseman from Finland. Last season, Vaananen made $997,500, and put up 2 goals, 6 assists and +8 in 74 games. In his NHL career, Vaananen has played 430 games, scoring 12 goals, 45 assists, 57 points, and a career +18.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> He is a stay at home defenseman who can play well physically. However, he is very limited in the offensive front. If he could score a few more goals he may be a better asset. I don't know if I would take this risk, since he doesn't seem to be producing much in his first 6 seasons. However, his defensive style would not be a bad addition.
<h3>#20 Janne Niinimaa</h3>
<b>2007 Team:</b> Montreal Canadiens
<b>Bio and Analysis:</b> Janne Niinimaa is a 32 year old veteran from Finland. Niinimaa made $2,508,000 last season. In his NHL career Niinimaa has played 741 games scoring 54 goals, 265 assists, 319 points, with a +43. Last season Niinimaa played 41 games, scoring 0 goals, and 3 assists, with a -13. He is a quick skater, and a great shot.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> Niinimaa has always been a culprit of underachieving. He has had the potential to be a great power defenseman in the NHL. However, he never really has posted the numbers to back that claim. I think he would fit well, and may get better motivation from Ken Hitchcock than he has had in previous years.
<h3>#21 Jan Bulis</h3>
<b>Position:</b> Left Wing
<b>2007 Team</b> Vancouver Canucks
<b>Bio and Analysis:</b> Jan Bulis is a 29-year old left wing from the Czech Republic. Last season Bulis made $1.3 Million playing in 79 games scoring 12 goals and 11 assists. In his career Bulis has played 552 games, scored 96 goals, 149 assists, 245 points with a -3. He is a responsible defensive forward, and is skilled all-around.
<b>Is he a good fit?</b> Being a defensive forward, I don't know if I would spend the money for him. The Jackets already have a few defensive forwards already. Not to say he'd be a bad fit, because he wouldn't be, but for the plain and simple fact that the Jackets need scoring.
Personally, I think I would go after Niinima, and/or Jason Allison. I like the aspect that Niinima adds another solid defenseman to the lineup, and Allison would add another dimension to the very uncomplicated offensive scheme. As much as I would like to see a power-forward sign with Columbus, that will have to wait until next year. The Jackets are going to succeed, but for now it is all a matter of time.
P.S. I'm still taking suggestions for this week's Retro-buzz entry