The Blue Jackets made a pair of unexpected prospect-related moves today. The first was bringing goaltender Oscar Dansk back over to the US for the first time since the 2014-15 season. The second came later in the day when the team announced that 2014 second-round pick Ryan Collins had signed his entry level contract meaning he’s leaving Minnesota after his junior year to turn pro.
First up is the news Dansk coming back over to North America. Oscar has spent the last two seasons on loan to Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League. Oscar went 6-15-1 this season in 24 appearances with two shutouts. Oscar had a .903 save percentage and a 2.99 goals against average. Oscar was Rogle’s number one goalie until Anders Lindback was signed by the team in December. But once the team got a new goalie, Dansk made only four appearances after Lindback joined the team.
Over two seasons in Sweden, Oscar went 18-34-4 with a .908 save percentage and 2.81 GAA with four shutouts with Rogle.
I’ll admit, bringing over Oscar surprised me given there are only five regular season games remaining and the Monsters are in a dogfight for the final playoff spot. This move could also be seen as a “see what we have” as this is the final year of Oscar’s entry-level deal and the CBJ could have a spot available in Cleveland next year with Joonas Korpisalo serving as Bob’s backup and Anton Forsberg needing a new deal (but with Forsberg being an RFA, that should being an easy re-signing).
Now for the Ryan Collins signing. News of this event started late last month as Minnesota Wild beat writer, Mike Russo tweeted that the Jackets might be looking into signing Collins. He was the Jackets 2014 second round pick (as predicted by a certain prospect blogger…I got the player closer than you did).
Collins is a giant defensive defenseman coming in at 6’6” 220lbs. Collins, like Gabriel Carlsson, is another big defenseman who’s not going to put many points up, but much of his game impact can’t be seen on the scoreboard. In 98 games at Minnesota, Collins collected 22 points (4-18-22) with nine of those points coming this season. This year was a bounce back season for Collins after he spent parts of last season’s second half in Coach Don Lucia’s doghouse. For more on Collins time at Minnesota, I’ll turn things over to longtime friend of the blog, SN Nation College Hockey/various outlets contributor, Nate Wells.
“He’s a big defensive defenseman. At his best he can be a shutdown guy and showed flashes of that throughout his junior season. Although he did shoot more and get the green light as the year went on, Collins isn’t an offensive dynamo. Not overly physical. Uses his body more to position and clear bodies out of the way than look for the big hit (also had a few penalties that were essentially him being taller than everyone, that won’t get called in the AHL). Has a slow, steady presence that grinds down opponents.“
“Two things that may get overlooked from the scoresheet: 1) Collins ended up bouncing back in a big way this year. The second half of Collins’ prior year went about as badly as it could have gone. He struggled and second-guessed himself mightily after missing the WJC team. Having six months off helped tons to refresh. 2) He’s been a fantastic presence with Ryan Zuhlsdorf. The two were D partners all year and had good chemistry. Was something Collins missed last season. Had it with Brady Skjei.”
I’m not going to lie, this signing surprised me at least as an early signing. After next season, I wouldn’t be as shocked. In Nate’s article about the signing, he believes the CBJ signed Ryan so he didn’t pull a Mike Reilly not that Ryan’s stock has skyrocketed like Reilly’s did. Don’t take this as an insult to Ryan I’m just making an observation.
As for the Monsters blueline next season, it seems like it’s going to be young, big, and hard to play against or at least to get around.
Under contract for next season are veteran Dman John Ramage, second year Dmen Blake Siebenaler and Jacob Graves who’s been in and out (mostly out) of the Monsters lineup. Turning pro with Ryan (6’6” 220) is Gabriel Carlsson (6’4” 192-he could be back in Sweden but I think the CBJ would rather have him a phone call away). Another possibility for next year is Vladislav Gavrikov (6’3”214) who has an offer on the table from the Blue Jackets. The Monsters have two RFAs on defense who could be brought back in Dean Kukan, who would help the lack of skill on the back end, and Oleg Yevenko, who would add to the giganticness of the Monsters blueline.
There you have it folks, a busy day in the world of the Blue Jackets prospects.