Blue Jackets Prospect Watch

By Aaron Vickers




Prospect Watch (Nov 18 03)

Another glimpse
into the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets sees the return of the
captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings, the return of a superstar in
Sarnia, the recognition of a Syracuse defenseman, as well as an
interesting twist to the Columbus Blue Jackets saga of Nikolai
Zherdev.

Tim Konsorada Returns to Wheat Kings
Lineup

Columbus Blue Jacket prospect
and Western Hockey League’s Wheat Kings captain Tim Konsorada took to the ice for
the first time this season, as Brandon tied 3-3 against the Saskatoon
Blades. The right winger, who now has played in two games this season
for the Wheat Kings, has recorded one point in the game against Saskatoon, registering an
assist on Tyler Dyck‘s power
play goal midway through the third period.

Konsorada, who missed over
four months of the season with a separated shoulder, underwent
successful surgery back in September, after the injury was discovered
at the
Columbus Blue Jackets Developmental Camp.

Last season, the Lamont, AB native recorded 22 goals and 69 points
in 72 games. As one of few returning players to the club, the Brandon
Wheat Kings named Konsorada their 43rd captain in franchise history in
September.

Syracuse Crunch’s Aaron Johnson Named To AHL All-Star Game

It has been announced that the
Syracuse Crunch will be represented in the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star
Classic, taking place at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan
on February 8th and 9th.

Johnson, who is in his first
season with the Syracuse Crunch after completing his Major Junior
career with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey
League, is the sole representative of the Columbus Blue Jackets and
Syracuse Crunch in the game. Johnson currently has 19 points (4 goals,15 assists)
in 38 games this season. Since being named to the All-Star Game,
Johnson has recorded 5 assists in 9 games.

In three games with Columbus this season, the 6’2″, 197 lb defender has
registered one point, an assist, as well as two minutes in penalties
while going -1. In those three games, Johnson has averaged 12:00
minutes of ice time, including 0:33 minutes of power play time.

Zherdev Case Goes To Arbitration

Although it was rough,
Russian forward Nikolai Zherdev has, at least on the ice, adjusted
extremely well to hockey in North America. Zherdev, who through 28
games, has seen his fair share of opportunity.

The Kiev, Ukraine native has
seen plenty of ice time in his 28 games so far this season. Averaging
16:48 minutes per game, Zherdev ranks fifth among forwards in that
regard, and second among left wingers, behind only Rick Nash, who leads the league
with 31 goals this season. Zherdev, in his first campaign, hasn’t been
a slouch either. Patrolling the left wing, Zherdev has managed six
goals and eight assists, totaling 14 points.

The story doesn’t end there
for Zherdev, however.

Despite the blessings from the
National Hockey League for Zherdev to remain on the Columbus Blue
Jackets, Nikolai Zherdev has been summoned to arbitration by the
Russian Hockey Federation, who are still looking for some vindication
after Zherdev left Russia overnight, to come play in Columbus.

An arbitrator has been named
in the case. The Russian Hockey Federation claims that Zherdev, 19, is
ineligible to play for Columbus as he has yet to fulfill military
obligations in his homeland. It will be the job of Stephan Netzle of
Switzerland to determine who is correct in this case.

Columbus has been notified
that the arbitration case will proceed some time after February 16th,
2004.

Fritsche Stars In All-Star Game

Danny Fritsche, who was
returned to the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League following his
gold medal win with Team USA in the 2004 World Junior Championships,
was named the MVP of Team West in the OHL’s annual All-Star game.

Fritsche registered two goals
and one assist, as Team West romped Team East by a score of 7-2.
With Petr Kanko and
Mike Richards, the line managed
to register 8 points on the strength of two goal performances by Kanko,
as well as Fritsche.

Fritsche, who was returned to
Sarnia after playing in 19 games for Columbus, has registered 7 points
in 8 games.