While it remains to be seen whether or not he should start shopping for
a new house in Ohio, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Danny Fritsche is savoring every
second of every shift he skates while wearing a Blue Jackets jersey.
Despite the fact that Fritsche could soon find himself in the familiar
yellow and black of the Sarnia Sting after a showcase by the Columbus
Blue Jackets, the 46th overall selection in the 2003 National Hockey
League Entry Draft isn’t taking his opportunity for granted.
Things have been moving at a rapid pace for the Parma, Ohio native.
Just months removed from being drafted by General Manager Doug
MacLean, Fritsche surprised many in camp with his hard work, offensive
flair, and physical prowess on the ice. After surviving the 2003
Columbus Blue Jackets Developmental Camp, Fritsche was added to the
Blue Jackets 2003-04 Training Camp Roster. It was here, as well as in
the preseason, where Fritsche earned the right to wear the familiar
blue, red and yellow of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The preseason saw Fritsche participate in as many games as any of his
new Columbus teammates. Despite not lighting the lamp on a frequent
basis, there was a different element that Fritsche displayed.
Registering one goal on five shots through the preseason, it was
Fritsche’s play away from the puck that allowed him to remain on the
club and dress for the Blue Jackets for both the team’s season opener
against the Thrashers in Atlanta, and their home opener against the New
Playing responsible defensively, Fritsche wasn’t viewed as a liability
on the ice, but an asset. Fritsche, wearing #49 for the Blue Jackets,
not once looked out of place on the ice, playing against competition
upwards of 15 years his senior. In fact, intimidation wasn’t remotely a
factor when Danny would jump the boards to skate his regular shift.
Never one to back down from physical play either, Fritsche would
routinely bang and crash down low, and even dropped the gloves against
New York Rangers defenseman Greg De
Although his play was worthy of making the club, it may very well have
been Fritsche’s strong willingness to negotiate a contract with the Blue Jackets before the Monday, October 6th deadline that made the difference. Although
terms of the deal were not disclosed, it was reported that Fritsche
himself declared he was willing to take less than market value in order
for Columbus management to find a place for him on the opening day
roster. Hours before the set deadline, Danny Fritsche and the Blue Jackets announced they had reached an agreement on an entry-level
While it remains to be seen whether or not Fritsche will be with the Blue Jackets all season, or returned to the Sarnia Sting of
the Ontario Hockey League, one thing is certain; that Fritsche has made
a very favorable impression on both Columbus management, as well as
Blue Jacket fans.
The great news for the Columbus Blue Jackets is that Danny Fritsche
wasn’t the only prospect to impress the club in training camp.
Slovak forward Andrej Nedorost,
who has enjoyed several call-ups with the team, has
also earned a spot on the Blue Jackets opening day roster.
Andrej Nedorost may very well see a lot
of icetime this season in a scoring role with the Columbus Blue
Jackets, an area lacking during the 2002-03 campaign. In fact,
Nedorost finished in a tie for first place in preseason scoring for the Blue Jackets, registering 5 points (2-3-5) in six games for the
Nedorost, 23, spent the majority of his 2002-03 season with the
Syracuse Crunch, the Blue Jackets American Hockey League
affiliate. Nedorost, who is wearing the #38 for the Blue
Jackets, has registered 51 points (19-32-51) in 100 career American
Hockey League games. In 19 National Hockey League games, Nedorost has
registered 3 points (0-3-3) and six PIMs.