It was learned yesterday that two-time AHL all-star defenseman Jonas Junland has decided to leave the Blues’ farm team and return to play in the Swedish Elite League, albiet not for Linkgopings – the team he’s played for since his youth. He apparently has turned down a one-way, $500,000 contract with the Blues to continue his development with Farjestads BK for substantially less money.
I could go linking to Post-Dispatch articles and whatnot here, but I won’t. The website that broke this with the most information, and continues to do so, is St. Louis Game Time. Take THAT, mainstream press. DanGNR found the initial article from Hockey Sweden and ran it through the ol’ Google Translator. It almost made sense. Anyway, it seems that Junland feels that the quality of competition is better in the Swedish league than the AHL, and that things won’t be quite as much of a cakewalk.
This morning, Marcus posted a link to an article detailing the threats Junland’s gotten for his choice of Swedish team. I never knew that hockey was to Sweden as soccer is to Latin America. Wacky.
Keep in mind that this does not mean that he is no longer the property of the Blues, but it does point toward the possibility that the home club did not think he was ready quite yet, or did not believe that he was going to perform to the level that they needed this year. That’s odd, considering he’s been a superstar in the AHL and impressed the games he was up with St. Louis. I’m on the side of many of the commenters on Game Time that we probably need to give him a chance. We draft and draft and draft defensemen during the first round, and we stockpile them? I’d rather see Petro get the chance to crack the big club, but if Colaiacovo is allowed to walk, that leaves room for Junland as well. If we’re going with the “youth movement” idea yet again, get the youth that can play in there – and Junland’s a kid who can play.
This makes me think that Cola might just be re-signed.