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Brett Lebda - Columbus Bound?

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One of the things that makes observing AHL hockey interesting, are the players who come and go on PTO's. The PTO is a Pro Tryout agreement, where players are essentially paid league minimum to play on a game by game basis.

For every notable player, there are usually a handful of unknowns, all doing their best to make an impression and hopefully land a contract.

This season, former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brett Lebda signed a PTO with the Falcons. What made this signing a bit more unusual than others, was that there was no secret that Columbus Blue Jackets Assistant GM, Chris MacFarland brokered the deal to get Lebda to the Falcons.

Originally, the thought was for Lebda to play just a couple of games here with the possibility of joining the Blue Jackets later.

Since his November 11th Springfield debut, Lebda has arguably become the Falcons best defenseman. Other than going -3 in the Wednesday night loss to Syracuse (one goal was an empty netter), Lebda has been paired with David Savard.

Defensively, Lebda has been an asset to Springfield. Something that has been equally impressive, is his ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone and carry it into the opponents end of the ice. In his 11 games with the Falcons, Lebda has scored one goal and added six assists for 7 points.

Now that James Wisniewski is on the shelf for six weeks with his broken ankle, the time may be right for Lebda to be offered a contract by the Jackets.

I had the opportunity to talk to Brett recently. His experience last season, when he signed as a free agent with the Maple Leafs, and was subsequently traded to Nashville, was a learning experience for him. Make no mistake, a hungry ex-NHLer wants to get back to the big stage.

Given the continuous struggles of the Jackets this season, what do they have to lose in offering Lebda the opportunity to return to the NHL?

The big concern for a Falcons observer, if this were to pass, would be what happens to the Falcons blueline? Currently, Cody Goloubef and Nick Holden are both out of the lineup with injuries. Anton Blomqvist has just returned to the lineup, but may not be at 100% for some time.

All in all, here in the "A" though, we're used to that. After all, somebody else may be waiting in the wings to be a PTO candidate.