Woywitka on Waivers

St. Louis placed Jeff Woywitka on waivers today. He was part of the original Pronger deal (the center of the trade for St. Louis was Eric Brewer) and has always been considered a quality prospect. He was a Red Deer Rebel in junior and a first round pick by Philadelphia. They dealt him to the Oilers for Mike Comrie (the Oilers also picked up the draft pick that turned into Comrie-light, Robbie Schremp).

Kevin Lowe liked him:

“Woywitka has all the tools,” Lowe said. “He had a bit of an up-and-down season this year. We’re pretty patient with him, he’s only a second-year pro. His strengths are in his puck-moving abilities. You have to have defensemen who can make that good first pass. His skating is good and he’s pretty solid in his own end. He does have to improve defensively and he’s making progress. We have high expectations for him, for sure. He got good training playing for Red Deer. A lot of players come out of that program ‘pro-ready.’ If you stick around (GM-coach) Brent Sutter for awhile, you learn respect for the game and accountability. Jeff is a very good example of that.”

Woywitka has played 60 NHL games since turning pro, 256 in the AHL. At 24 (he’s 3 and a half months younger than Matt Greene) he still has plenty of time to establish himself in the NHL, especially considering that defenders take a little longer to develop. The Blues website lists the defenseman on the roster and here they are by NHL games played:

  1. Jay McKee 605
  2. Eric Brewer 518
  3. Bryce Salvador 391
  4. Barret Jackman 231
  5. Christian Backman 183
  6. Matt Walker 132
  7. Erik Johnson 0

Johnson is that first overall pick the Blues got for being terrible in 05-06, Walker is the guy one would think Woywitka was in competition with and the others are guys who are more established (and better, obviously). Walker is a “keep it simple” defender, Woywitka has a wider range of skills and no one dominant ability.

If he’s any good, someone will claim him. He doesn’t cost that much, has his future in front of him and comes at the cost of an end-of-the-roster spot.

It’s that simple.

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8 Responses to "Woywitka on Waivers"

  1. James Mirtle says:

    David Tanabe is in the mix there, too, and may be ahead of Walker at this point.

  2. Dennis says:

    I would always joke that this guy was an offensive defenseman without any offense. I saw him some down here in the A and I always liked Doug Lynch better. Lynch wasn’t near the skater that Woywitka was but he was a way better passer, was smarter and just had a knack for being able to get his shot on net.

    I remember a Sat night home game last year against the Blues, Stl won in OT, and the Blues had the only bcast and the boys were raving about Woywitka’s skating ability and I believe that the was the game where he collected his lone goal. He really was skating well but then again the Oilers were icing a poor team.

  3. Lowetide says:

    mirtle: You know, I had just read that on your site. Old age sucks. :-)

    Dennis: Yeah, I remember you mentioning both Lynch and Woywitka and your take being along those lines. Woywitka looked smooth here with the Roadrunners but Lynch had a wonderful rookie season before the wrist injury derailed his career.

  4. Lord Bob says:

    Woywitka was always the defensive Jason Chimera for me: I fell in love with him because the man could skate like his pants were on fire and I said things like “when his head catches up with his feet, he’ll be an All-Star” and refused to see that his head would, in fact, never catch up with his feet.

    Now, of course, the natural reply is “hey, Chimmer’s turned into an NHL player”. I still think Woywitka will, too. He sucks, but he sucks less offensively than Cory Cross or Garnet Exelby or any of a bunch of other guys who’ve had NHL careers.

  5. Mr DeBakey says:

    From Bill Melzer on Hockeybuzz,
    the LA Kings are playing in a little tournament in Vienna.

    Coached by Pierre Page, the Red Bulls also feature Austrian native and former St. Louis Blues goalie Reinhard Divis, native Austrian former Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Mattias Trattnig, ex-Anaheim and Phoenix right wing Frank Banham, former New Jersey Devils winger Jiri Bicek one-time Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brad Fast and former Edmonton Oilers defenseman Doug Lynch.

  6. Bank Shot says:

    I guess if Woywitka makes it through waivers then Roy has a pretty good chance of making it through himself.

    If I was the Oilers GM I’d probably just send him down. He’s behind Gilbert anyhow.

  7. Ducey says:

    Yeah, Roy’s got that one way contract next year too. That should scare off a few teams along with the fact they have not seen him play much this year due to injuries. I still think he has future though. From what I saw in early camp he is able to make the nice first pass and adds some toughness. If he makes it to Springfield, he and Gilbert will be fighting for Tarnstom’s job next season.

  8. Dennis says:

    Roy’s got an interesting mix of skills. He has a knack of getting his shot on net and he’s also tough. I don’t see enough from him to negate the development of a Gilbert though.

    What’s really gumming up the works is the Oilers giving Greene all this rope because, along with Souray and Staios, he’s in the “defender” catergory while JP, Grebs, Gilbert and Tarnstrom are labelled as “puck-movers.”

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