Newsday's Katie Strang relayed via Twitter that the Isles are "closing in" Their Twitterific agent confirms they have signed ex-Capitals and Blue Jackets defenseman Milan Jurčina, as well as Rangers forward P.A. Parentau. UPDATE: Add Bolts fan-fave fighting foo' Zenon Konopka to the list. As Webby notes, he's no relation to this Google-friendly Zenon. We don't think. Zenon's job, as he knows full well, is to play with passion and irritation and ultimately fight.
Eaton is a shot blocker, a solid low-pairing guy and penalty killer. After several years in Nashville, he joined the Penguins for their rise from emerging to Cup champs. Parentau brings some skill at left wing -- he scores in the AHL -- but at age 27 has yet to put it together in the NHL. Jurčina is 6'4", 233 lbs. -- and was said to be weighing multiple offers.
Jurčina is Slovakian, so I am required to feel some neighborly Czech appreciation for him and make liberal use of diacritics.
We'll keep adding analysis -- including some insight from the Raw Charge gang about Konopka -- after the jump.
For a fun look at Jurcina, just check his "report card"-style Rink Wraps over at Japers' Rink. (Note: The report cards I do are an idea directly stolen from the Japers' crew.) Over there, you'll confirm that "Juice" doesn't bring much offense, but has improved his discipline and hitting game, earning him more PK time.
Jurcina's deal is said to be 1 year, $1 million, so it's hard not to like that. If you view Mark Streit as the anchor needed for PP time and heavy EV minutes, then adding two penalty killers like Eaton and Jurcina is a nice boost. Put Andrew MacDonald and Jack Hillen in this mix with the bionically reconstructed Radek Martinek (and his replacement once injured), and you have an NHL blueline that lacks flash but you can go to battle with.
If these signings take some of the burden off of Streit and frees him for his offense, it's a move in the right direction.
Zenon Konopka (or "Zeke," if you like)
Tempting to look at Konopka and just see the fighting angle, since he led the league in that category. But he also wins faceoffs at a great clip: 62 percent on 462 draws last season.
Here's Cassie from Raw Charge on that topic:
We've nicknamed him "Zeke", just so you know. And we had Zeke Squad t-shirts made up for him, too. So, just from that, you can tell he was a fan favorite.
Konopka is one of those guys you want as a teammate. He's fiercely loyal to his teammates, and a character guy - total captain material - in the locker room. When he gets into fights, he does it smartly. He almost never goes to the box alone, so he rarely puts his team into penalty trouble.
But on top of that, he's a great faceoff guy. If he'd taken more faceoffs, he would've been among the league leaders in that category. He has a fair shot, and isn't a bad skater, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and the fans love that about him. Lightning fans will definitely miss him.
And here's John, also from Raw Charge:
We affectionately have referred to the guy as Zeke for the majority of the 2009-10 campaign. He is fantastic with faceoffs (check the stats on NHL.com) and isn't just a thug when it comes to fights -- he's smart enough not to grab the extra penalties of instigating and what not. Never pulls it at a bad time.He had successes in the junior leagues and he's one of those AHL All-star types, but he fills a niche as a physical grinder. Fearless. He'll take on Chara or any of the other big boys, because he knows he has to spark the bench.But that face-off strength is an intangible. I don't think they ask more of him than to be a physical force (and take face-offs) or he could contribute more offensively. Just not much. He's never going to be a prolific goal-scorer, but he's not entirely dead weight either.By the way, he hurt his back late last season. Missed a ton of games. Don't know if that is lingering or not.
That back injury and the fact he fights a lot could be long-term physical concerns. But it sounds like he's a smart guy and can fill some of the faceoff void left by Richard Park's presumed departure.
More to come on these topics as we dig up more...