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Oscar Could Have Otters Dansk-ing

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

At the NHL Draft in June, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was thrilled to see Oscar Dansk available when his No. 31 pick rolled around.

There were some nervy moments as the first round came to a close, and the team's hockey operations staff also had a decision to make: should they use the Los Angeles Kings' first-round pick this year, or wait until 2013? Risk was involved, as it wasn't certain that their targeted player (Dansk) would be available at their next selection.

When the second round began on Saturday morning, there was not much second-guessing as Howson strode to the podium. Dansk was their guy, and in a few weeks time, he will have the opportunity to be "the guy" for another club -- the OHL's Erie Otters, who desperately need stability in goal and selected Dansk in the CHL Import Draft.

Last season was a long one in Erie, as the Otters struggled out of the gate and never got on solid ground. They finished the season 10-52-6 with 26 points in the standings, 20 points behind the next team ahead of them (Kingston).

Most astounding: the Otters gave up 338 goals in 68 games -- a goals-against average of 4.97, making the acquisition of a talented netminder tops on the priority list for GM Sherry Bassin and his hockey operations group.

They just might have that in Dansk, a highly-rated goaltender coming out of Sweden who has a rich background in the North American game. He spent three years at renowned Shattuck St. Mary's academy in Minnesota, a prep school that has been the starting block for several NHL superstars, notably Sidney Crosby.

Goalie scouts, including Justin Goldman of NHL.com, believed Dansk to be one of the top puck-stoppers in the 2012 draft class. Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark said Dansk was the unquestioned No. 1 atop his draft board, and said Joonas Korpisalo (whom the club picked in the third round) wasn't far behind.

While the Blue Jackets picked Dansk to hopefully develop into a No. 1 goaltender in the future, the Otters are hoping he can be that player right away.

Otters head coach Robbie Ftorek, who coached in the NHL with three different teams, has been the bench boss in Erie since 2007 when he got the team back into the OHL playoffs during his first full season. There's no doubt Ftorek is looking for a solution between the pipes, and he's going to have an intense competition with three goalies - Devin Williams, Keinan Brown, and Dansk - in training camp this fall.

The road to a starting job in the OHL has been bumpy for Dansk (at least recently). He suffered a couple of minor knee injuries in practice and hasn't skated

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