It’s been relatively quiet in the NHL the past few days, and nothing significant to report, so I thought I will write something about the newest signing of the Canucks, Jason Krog.
So who is Jason Krog? First off, he is a local B.C. boy, from Fernie. He plays center, medium built at 5’11 and 191 lbs. Jason played his junior hockey with the Chiliwack Chiefs of the BCJHL, and during his college hockey years at University of New Hampshire, he captured the 1999 Hobey Baker Award as top collegiate player, but this will be the only Hockey award he will receive for the next nine years. [Other Hobey Baker Award winners include Paul Kariya (93), Brian Holzinger (95), Brendan Morrison (97), Chris Drury (98), Ryan Miller (01)].
But for some reason, Krog was never drafted. After capturing the Baker, the Islanders signed him as a free agent on May 14, 1999 only to send him to their AHL affiliates. Then, during the next nine years he floated between AHL and NHL teams, but always showing signs of his offensive abilities. During his stay with Islander’s farm team, Brideport Sound Tigers, he finished 2nd in scoring by only playing 64 games, he follow that up with 23 point in the playoffs and winning the Calder Cup against the Chicago Wolves.
Fast forward nine years, during the time he had a decent run with the Anahiem Mighty Ducks, playing 67 games and 25 points (10g, 15a), and 21 games in the playoffs helping the team to the finals in his first year, and 18 points in 80 games during his second year with the Ducks. He played in the SEL during the lock-out and upon his return, he played 14 games with the Thrashers and 9 games with the Rangers.
But not until this year, when he finally settled down to play a full season (80 games) with the Chicago Wolves, the team which he help defeated during his time with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the Calder Cup 6 years ago, did he have a breakout year.
He scored a total of 39 goals, and 73 assists for 112 points in the regular season, capturing the John Sollenberger Trophy as the league’s top point scorer, Willie Marshall Award as the league’s top goal scorer, and the Les Cunningham Award as the league’s MVP. Krog led the wolves to a divisional title, and help them reclaim the Calder Cup during the playoffs, while leading everyone in scoring, hence also capturing the Jack Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP.
Although he individually captured almost all of the significant personal achievement awards in the AHL, Jason Krog was hardly noticed, as usual, just like nine years ago. What Jason accomplished this year, would surely be noticed by the Thrashers organization, one would think. However, he wasn’t offered to resign with the AHL club or promotion to the NHL club. No NHL team was interested in him, in fact, just prior to Canucks signing, Krog has planned to play in Russia come the following season.
I heard some people criticizing Mike Gillis on this pick-up, suggesting that Krog will only be an career-AHL player due to his past, and that Gillis has again picked up some trash another team left unwanted. (Sometimes these arrogant fans really piss me off)
On the contrary, I think Mike Gillis did a great job acquiring Krog. Yes, he was given his opportunity during his time with the Ducks, the Rangers and the Thrashers. But I see Krog as a late-bloomer, and one who has developed into a mentally-strong player through his years of failures and disappointment. He has shown that he has the offensive skills this year, and I think coming home to Vancouver, he will have the highest incentive to try to stay in the big club. Combining the above with the lack of offense with the Canucks, which should provide more opportunity and ice-time for him, I think he will have a great year in the NHL this year.