For the life of me I don’t understand why Edmonton didn’t sign this guy. He was very dependable on the blueline when healthy this past season and was easily one of the top 4 defensemen on the roster.
According to Desjardins, Hejda played some of the toughest minutes in the NHL last season (he played the 15th toughest minues in the league among D) and he performed well in them.
He played an aggressive, physical style for Edmonton and had that valuable knack of being able to move bodies and impose his will on the opponent without taking a penalty.
Jan Hejda is a smart player. Scott Howson made a wise signing and I’ll be cheering for both of them this winter.
As for the Oilers, their LD has seen a lot of turnover and the depth chart as we talk today might be something like Pitkanen, Smid, Tarnstrom (I think they’ll play Smid with Matt Greene on the second pairing as things stand now). The other option (and a strong one) is Denis Grebeshkov who is pretty much a lock to make the big club this fall.
Jan Hejda is probably a better option for 07-08 than at least 2 of those guys (Smid, Grebeshkov although he may surprise) and is far more reliable in his own zone than Tarnstrom. The decision to let him go to Columbus could then be best described as curious.