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Kaspar Signs: Competition in the Bottom Six

Posted by Chris Shafer On July - 21 - 2009

kasparThe Lukas Kaspar signing is now CapGeek official. Though there were already rumors running around that Kaspar had been signed there was nothing in writing other than a blog post on some random hockey site. I know blogs are usually credible if their sources or solid, but waiting for this one was worth an official claim since we already signed Kolanos and Pyorala.

So what does all this mean? Well right now Kaspar, Pyorala, Kolanos, Powe, Lappy, Carcillo, Cote, Asham, Maroon, Nodl, Kalinski, and JVR are all fighting for six spots and possibly a healthy scratch position on the roster. Since at this rate Cote is looking like the healthy scratch it’s very possible that 11 players will have to fight it out for 6 roster spots in the bottom 6.

JVR, Maroon, and Nodl will not likely play4th line minutes as the organization would rather have them either play 3rd line or in the AHL to develop. On top of that Lappy, Carcillo, Powe, and Asham are nearly guaranteed to fall somewhere in that bottom 6 whether it be on the 3rd or 4th line.

That leaves two open spots. If they’re 3rd line spots the competition is between JVR, Nodl, and Maroon as rookies as well as Kaspar, Pyorala, Kolanos, and Kalinski. If they’re fourth line spots you can likely take out the three high end Flyers prospects.

This of course all gets screwed up if the Flyers decide to skate three scoring lines with Richards, Carter, and Giroux/Briere down the middle. It’s almost guaranteed though that both Briere and Giroux will be playing in the top 6 at this point though leaving the Flyers with a less offensive, defensively responsible, traditional checking 3rd line.

Honestly it’s kind of looking like two of Pyorala, Kaspar, and Kolanos will make the team. The three of them are on matching $0.500m 1 year deals for the league minimum.

So what’s the word on these guys? Well, they’re all different.

Mika Pyorala is an undrafted forward who dominated the SM-Liiga of Finland before crushing the competition in the 3rd best hockey league in the world, the Elitserien of Sweden, for two years. He wasn’t the best player offensively finishing up around 12th in scoring, but he led his team and was arguably the most defensively responsible forward in the league. It’s safe to say that he wants some PK time.

Lukas Kaspar was chosen 22nd overall by the San Jose Sharks back in 2004 as a power forward out of the Czech League. He had a strong outing in the OHL for one year before joining the AHL where he has basically remained ever since. He has four points including two goals in 16 NHL games played with the Sharks, but is regarded as a lazy forward. He has all the skills in the world but just hasn’t put everything together yet. His upside is not exactly on the level of his original draft selection, but he’s not terrible. If he evolves into a steady 3rd liner capable of 30 points and some energy then this is a solid pick up.

Krys Kolanos was selected 19th overall by the by the Phoenix Coyotes back in 2000. He was on his way to having a bright NHL future until concussion problems in the early decade slowed his progress. He was of course never the same but has certainly turned into a decent AHL player. He will compete for a roster spot and probably won’t be all that bad as a call up. He played 21 games for the Wild last season and managed six points including three goals. In fact in 136 NHL games he has scored 20 goals and added 21 assists for 41 points which is not bad for a 3rd liner.

The competition going into camp this season for the bottom six is definitely tight. It’s going to be a race to the finish and the preseason will determine the outcome.

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