50-24-8, 108 pts / 247GF(6th)/193GA(2nd)
Cap room (Per CapFriendly as of 8/13/17): $12.8 million - 21/23 NHL contracts
- 6/23/17 Artemi Panarin - Trade w/ CHI
- 7/1/17 Andre Benoit (D) - 1 yr / 800k
- 7/1/17 Cameron Gaunce - 1 yr / 800k
- 6/27/17 Jordan Schroeder (C) - 2 yr / $1.3 mil
- Brandon Saad - Trade w/ CHI
- Anton Forsberg - Trade w/ CHI
- William Karlsson - Expansion Draft
- Sam Gagner - VAN, 3 yr / $9.45 mil
- Scott Hartnell - NSH, 1 yr / $1 mil
- Kyle Quincey - MIN, 1 yr / $1.25 mil
Artemi Panarin - Alexander Wennberg (RFA) - Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno - Brandon Dubinsky - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner - Pierre-Luc Dubois- Josh Anderson (RFA)
Matt Calvert - Lukas Sedlak - Jordan Shroeder
(Markus Hannikainen- Zach Dalpe - Sonny Milano)
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Jack Johnson - David Savard
Markus Nutivaara - Ryan Murray
(Andre Benoit - Cameron Gaunce)
Don’t be surprised if the Jackets decide to keep Pierre-Luc Dubois around for the regular season in Columbus. He was the 3rd overall pick in the 2016 Draft, so the Jackets are going to take a hard look at him once training camp starts. The Jackets will have depth and a good mix of skill and #grit/60 in the line-up for Dubois to transition from a sheltered role to start the year into a more extended role by spring time. If he makes it, he has the potential and skill to put up roughly 40 points, give or take, which would be a win for the Jackets.
There is also Sonny Milano on the wing in Columbus who could earn a spot on this team. He was the Jackets first round pick in 2014 and has been working his way up the ranks in the system and may finally make his way into the NHL for good this year. His role and numbers have been steadily increasing, and he is on the cusp of being an NHL regular, and a good showing in camp could possibly seal the deal.
The truest “dark horse” candidate is probably Vitaly Abramov. He was taken 65th overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2016 Draft, but has produced like someone who would be taken higher than that. If there’s any flaw with him, it’s easy to spot - his height. He’s listed anywhere from 5’7-5’9 on most scouting reports. I’m guessing he’s still at the bottom part of that projection, which is the biggest guessing game in hockey right now. It seems like more and more shorter players are making an impact now, and he looks to have all the skills to have a great impact. (Insert any negative connotation about short hockey players.) For as many examples against, sometimes all it takes is one opportunity to show that there are still ways to be productive, no matter how tall you are. Abramov doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration either, 5 feet 8” Cam Atkinson was their best offensive player last season, scoring 35 goals along the way.
Too Early Expectations:
It’d be hard to expect any team to have back-to-back 50 win seasons, so I’m guessing that will come down a bit. If Dubois can come in and make an impact, there’s no reason to think that Columbus couldn’t win 50 next season, either. Columbus has depth at every position at forward, defense, and goaltender. The Blue Jackets also have several young players who look to be getting better each year, and are finding themselves with golden opportunities to showcase what they’re capable of.
Chicago must really like Columbus for some reason. First, the Hawks traded Saad to CBJ and changed the landscape of the franchise in Columbus. Then, Chicago takes him back and gives the Blue Jackets another big name player. Some teams have been waiting decades to trade for a player like the Jackets got from Chicago, and the Jackets managed to do it twice in a very short time. In my mind, the Panarin for Saad deal made the Jackets stronger, but was a good deal for both teams at the end of the day. Panarin brings that true #1 goal scorer that Columbus has missed since Rick Nash’s departure. Atkinson looked to be that guy last year, but now he’s got company with Panarin, which can’t hurt.
All in all, the Blue Jackets look to be just as competitive as they were last season. They lost some very useful forwards, but also got younger in doing so. The Jackets will most likely live or die with Bobrovsky in net, as he was their rock last year taking home the Vezina. Nobody expected them to win 50 games last year, and many people were quick to write it off as good luck. It could be more of the same this year, however, if Tortorella can get this team all on the same page.
How many wins will the Blue Jackets finish with?
This poll is closed
34 or less
50+ (Last years total)
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