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Thoughts on the Lukas Krajicek acquisition, and what it may mean

Posted Oct 6, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Oct 6, 2008 at 10:56 PM

OK, I’ve been reading a lot of your comments and your thoughts on the trade executed by the Lightning on Monday, picking up defenseman Lukas Krajicek and minor league forward Juraj Simek from Vancouver for Shane O’Brien and Michel Ouellet and I figured it was time for me to chime in and offer up some of my thoughts.

First off, trading Ouellet means nothing, he was never really in Tampa Bay’s plans heading into training camp and I’m sure they are happy to shed his $1.3 million salary this season. Personally, I’m glad that Ouellet will get a shot at helping out a team this year and Vancouver can use the help (assuming, of course, he clears re-entry waivers). I don’t think Ouellet got a fair shake here in Tampa, this year or last, and he’s a player who can be productive. He’s not going to light it up, but he can be a poor man’s Andrew Brunette, never thought much of but finds a way to contribute to the offense.

As far as O’Brien, I’m only surprised at how quickly he fell out of favor. You would have figured he was a Barry Melrose kind of guy who can be tough and willing to drop the gloves. Melrose often went out of his way to praise O’Brien during training camp (which very well have been a ploy hoping some other GM would read them in the daily sports clips and think they need a guy like O’Brien who is performing so well in training camp).

Now, on to what this means for Tampa Bay. It’s no secret that Krajicek is considered to be as soft as butter, especially in the corners. Sure doesn’t sound like a Melrose kind of guy. But he can skate and he is a solid passer out of the zone, which will definitely help out the transition game, the main strength to his game that Brian Lawton spoke about this afternoon.


But here’s the thing, I don’t think the team is done tweaking anything this week. I believe there is something more to come. Call it a bit of intuition here and trying to read some of the tea leaves (or chicken bones, depending on your preference) that have been laid out before us.

First of all, defenseman Vladimir Mihalik was reassigned to Norfolk today - Lawton praised the job he did and said no other player did more of a jump up the depth chart in training camp. And with O’Brien-Krajicek being a wash right now, it leaves just six defenseman left on the roster right now.

Logic might point to Paul Ranger’s imminent return from off-season shoulder surgery. That answer is nope, he’s not quite ready. Might be another week, might be two weeks, according to Lawton. They don’t want to push the issue with Ranger, he has to be 100 percent ready and that just won’t happen before Saturday’s home opener.

So, with no corresponding move to bring a defenseman up from Norfolk, this tells me that something else might be in the works.

There’s been Internet speculation that the Lightning might have some interest in bringing in Bryan Berard, who was released from a tryout agreement with Philadelphia over the weekend. Lawton, however, said the signing Berard is “not a possibility’‘.

But when I asked if this was it, if they were done and the plan was to head into the home opener with six defenseman, Lawton was non-committal. On the surface, that doesn’t mean much as any GM would probably say just about the same thing on how they are always looking to improve their team. I, however, didn’t take it as such and feel that something else is coming. They’ve talked an awful lot in recent weeks about wanting to bring in one guy that would serve as the rock of the defense, a stay-at-home type of guy and I think that really became evident over the weekend.

Is Warrener the answer?

Perhaps a guy like Rhett Warrener would come into that picture. Calgary placed him on waivers today and perhaps, just perhaps, this move/moves today were done in preparation for the team expecting to be able to pick Warrener - a veteran of 714 games in the stay-at-home mode. He’s not cheap as he makes $2.3 million in the final year of his contract, but might be the veteran-type they need this season. And even if he’s not claimed on waivers - he was waived by Calgary in June as well and went unclaimed - he could still be plunked off re-entry waivers at half the contract value and salary cap hit should the Flames decide to go that route.

This is something that deserves to be watched over the coming days.

Reader Comments

Por (berlin) on October 06, 2008 (Suggest removal)

O’brien sucked anyhow.Anyone is an upgrade.

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Por (Mike Joyce) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I agree about OB not being that good.  When he first came here, I thought he might be a good deal, but he was never able to understand what either Torts or Melrose wanted from him.  You never knew what to expect from him.

Let’s hope that you are right,Erik, and they do more to make the defense stable.

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Por (BillSmith) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sounds like a poor man’s Boyle without PP ability. That being said, this team still has glaring problems brought on by shedding of Richards and Boyle.

The PP is not good after being top 5 last year. The defense is struggling to skate the puck out of the zone. The addition of Krajicek can only be viewed as a minor fix for a bigger problem.

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Por (Art) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

What was wrong with an inexpensive Nolan Pratt ?????

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Por (Patrick) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I can not wait until the first time Krajicek gets injured. And depending on when the first time he plays in a full contact practice with the team, it could be fairly soon…

Go Rays!

...This Bolts 08-09 season is already lost. And feel free to say that that statement is a little premature. But we’ll see where this club is come Christmas time, because there’s really not a lot of reason to have high hopes.

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Por (BillSmith) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Prat was on the Sabres roster last year and was injured soon after the season started if memory serves. He currently is not listed on a roster that I could find.

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Por (Just an Olie fan) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

the Sharks just put Kyle McLaren on waivers. Lightning should pick him up!!!!

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Por (Anne B) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

From all your post I have read, you just don’t like the team. Maybe you and your bashing need to follow another team.
And I don’t think the team is done yet. And I like Boyle as much as most but remember he was a -27 last year. It became a joke at games for our group to how many times he was going to pass to the other team so they could score. The team needed change and thats whats happening.

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Por (chris) on October 07, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Amen Anne

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Por (Jay) on October 08, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Erik, on another blog, you made a great point about a good number of D men have played more games the the Bolts D chore collectively. I really do believe that the Krajicek trade doesn’t do anything to help the Bolts.  I would have kept O’Brien.  2 games 80 shots says a lot about the the D. Some might argue that the season is young that the guys just need time to work together & to get cohesion.  A good argument to take if the personnel has the game to do it.  The guys we have might be skilled, shoot, move the puck, skate,  but none of them are anchors in front of the GT.  I said it once and I will say it again, Cups are won with strong GT and great D.  The jury is stilll out on the GT.  I think the jury has already spoken on the D.

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