Given that the newest member of the Flyers, defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, has played his entire career in Columbus, fans in the Philadelphia area probably don't know too much about his game. Luckily, Andy Newman, a Blue Jackets writer over at The Cannon, took the time to answer a few of our questions.
The first thing we'll realize about Tollefsen is the fact that he plays a very "Philly style" of hockey, and that's presumably why general manager Paul Holmgren picked him up off of free agency.
"Tollefsen is a physical defenseman who plays with no fear," Newman said of OKT's desire to win. "He's got a lot of heart and is just an all-around good guy to have on your team. He sticks up for anyone without question. You can't question his heart."
But that seems to be where the accolades end for the player affectionately known as Tolle.
"His on-ice skills are lacking," Newman continued. "I recall Blue Jackets fans calling him 'scary' with the puck. He won't add any offense, and in Columbus was utilized on the bottom pairing. He wasn't brought back to the Blue Jackets mainly because we have too many defensive-defensemen like Tollefsen, but they all have more upside, like Marc Methot."
If Tollefsen can't crack any higher than the Jackets' third pairing, what evidence is there to think he can do the same thing here, especially if the rumors are true that he'll be replacing Randy Jones in the lineup. Some of the biggest criticisms of Jones are that he is atrocious while carrying the puck and in the decisions he makes with the puck, so if Tollefsen is "scary" with the puck, how is that an improvement?
Say he does perform well though and he becomes a solid bargain for a team snug against the salary cap. There's no guarantee that he'll stay healthy, as noted earlier in a frightening breakdown of Tollefsen's injury history.
"The biggest issue with Tolle is the growing injury concerns," Newman said. "Since becoming a full-time NHLer in 06-07 when he played 70 games, he's gone from playing 51 games two years ago to just 19 last year. The injuries are getting worse, too. He's dealt with a concussion or two, and played out part of the 07-08 season with a cracked vertebrae in his neck."
"In short, he's a great guy, and will defend his teammates until the end. It's just everything else that's a concern."