By Rick Gethin
It was announced today that the Columbus Blue Jackets traded right winger Stefan Legein to the Philadelphia Flyers in a minor league deal for defenseman Michael Ratchuk.
Ratchuk, 1 assist in 5 games for the Adirondack Phantoms this season, will report to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. He was a 2nd round pick of the Flyers in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. THW’s Chris Shafer had this to say about Ratchuk, “He has great speed, incredible stickhandling; although he hasn’t developed a shot from the point. Consequently, his offense suffers because of that. His skill set is comparable presently to Maxim Afinogenov. He still needs to mature in his own zone.” Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson spoke with Puck Rakers today in Calgary, “He’s a skilled defenseman,” Howson said. “I don’t think he’s put up numbers yet where you’d say he’s an offensive defenseman. But he can certainly transport the puck, and he’s an excellent skater.”
Columbus fans know the story behind Stefan Legein. Drafted by the Blue Jackets in the 2nd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, he was a highly touted prospect that was supposed to make his mark as an up-and-coming agitator with Columbus. Then on August 19th, 2008, Bethany Porter (Bethany’s Hockey Rants) broke the story of Legein “retiring” from hockey. He “un-retired” in time to suit up for the final 26 games of the 2008-2009 season with the Crunch, where he went 1-0-1 with 4 PIMs. By all accounts he had a decent training camp with the Blue Jackets this year. Since being assigned to the Crunch, he’s gone 2-1-3, 0 PIMs in 6 games.
I never really thought that he was all that he was touted to be. Obviously he had some issues that he had to work out before he could commit to playing hockey on the pro level. I’m not sure that he’s there yet. “Stef never asked to be traded, 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.” (Puck Rakers)
All in all, I think this trade is good for both the Blue Jackets and the Flyers. Columbus gets a puck-moving defenseman, of which they are short on, and Legein gets a fresh start and a change of scenery. Philadelphia should be able to get his head straight. Ratchuk will be given some good minutes and work on the offensive side of his game. With injuries an ever present possibilty, he could see some time with the big club this season.