Today in the "A": Gustaf, We Hardly Knew Ye

Today is the last day of Gustaf Wesslau's contract with the Jackets. Signed last May 5th and with high praise on all fronts, he packed his gear and was headed for Springfield to embark on what was expected to be a successful career in North America. Where did it all go wrong?

Training Camp. The severity of injuries to prospects doesn't always make the big headlines. It's also happened before that a player might try and tough it out to get some more ice time. In this case, Wesslau was sidelined early in camp with a knee problem. With the severity unknown, he didn't make his season debut for the Falcons until November 5th.

Homesick. His first foray across the pond might have been more than he bargained for. Granted, Springfield isn't Columbus just as the AHL isn't the NHL. Maybe it was the surroundings. Just ask Mike Commodore.

Expectations. Perhaps the expectations were simply too high. Maybe Scott Howson's team was under the impression that Gustaf could be the greatest Swedish netminder since King Henrik Lundqvist.

Concentration. No maybe's about it, this was indeed an issue. Frequently, leaving the impression that he was counting the house from his crease, Wesslau didn't inspire the confidence of the Springfield fans.

His best month was January when he put up a record of 5-4-0, with a 2.53 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Sadly for all concerned, those "best month" stats typically compare with an "average month" for a top notch netminder. His fate was sealed in March, during the 12 game losing streak when he went 0-3-0, 4.12 and .833 - not numbers you'd expect from the next Lundqvist.

For a quick peek, take a look at the WWLP TV report that Matt included in last Friday's Shrapnel column. In the video, Gustaf can be seen around the 1 minute mark. Also, listen to Falcons' President and GM Bruce Landon, himself a former netminder, giving a brief critique of the Falcons' goaltending this season.

And so it ends, the experiment in bringing a Swedish Elite league netminder into the North American fold. Perhaps for a reason, or combination of reasons above, Gustaf just wasn't up to the task.
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