When I think of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the first thing that comes to mind is the loud cannon that goes off every time they score a goal in their home arena. Apparently it’s obnoxious and startles people. Perfect!
Then I think of their logo and wonder why it looks like a logo for an All-Star Game, more specifically, the 2000 NHL All-Star Game which was held in Toronto.
Feel free to look it up and tell me I’m wrong.
Artemi Panarin (LW) – I love this acquisition. The Blue Jackets needed a legitimate first line scorer. Panarin put up 151 points in two seasons in Chicago. Some think his production will dip, since Patrick Kane is no longer his line mate. I don’t know if I’m 100% sold on that. Panarin has the opportunity to stand out on Columbus, whereas he was always in the shadow of a Toews and Kane in Chicago. We’ll see.
Nick Foligno (LW) – The Captain had a nice bounce back season after a disappointing 2015-16. Every time I see his name, I think of “Foligno & Barnes”.
Cam Atkinson (RW) – Cam broke out for 35 goals and 62 points last season. If he gets to play with Panarin, he could be looking at another career year.
Alexander Wennberg (C) – In his first season in the NHL, he had 20 points. His second season – 40 points. Last season – 59 points. Simple math tells me that he’s on pace for 80 points this season. I don’t know if he gets there, but does math ever lie?
Notable – Boone Jenner (C), Brandon Dubinsky (C)
If you’re not jealous of the Columbus Blue Jackets for having two young defensemen to build around for the next 15 years, then you aren’t paying attention.
Seth Jones (22) – After coming over from Nashville two years ago, Jones has been able to spread his wings, fly, and touch the sky. He’s an all-around defenseman who’s offensive potential could put him between 40-50 points each season. He’s under contract for the next 5 years.
Zach Werenski (20) – He put up 47 points in his rookie season as a 19-year-old. That’s not fair. I think his offensive ceiling could eventually reach Erik Karlsson levels, aka 70 points. Werenski has two years left on his entry-level contract. The Blue Jackets will probably lock him up long-term as soon as they can.
Ryan Murray (24) – I was only going to list him as notable, but today is his birthday, so he gets his name in bold.
Notable – Jack Johnson (30)
Sergei Bobrovsky (29) – The two-time Vezina trophy winner might get overlooked because he’s in Columbus, but he’s a big part of this team. He had a Goals Against Average of 2.06 during the regular season, but allowed 20 goals in 5 playoffs game against Pittsburgh. He needs to stay healthy if they want to do something this year.
Joonas Korpisalo (23) – He’s the backup goalie. He was born in Pori, Finland in 1994. That’s all I’ve got.
1. The Blue Jackets won 16 straight games last season, which was one short of the NHL record set by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1992-93 season.
2. They’ve missed the playoffs in 13 of their 16 seasons as a franchise and have never won a playoff series.
3. Last season, they averaged 15,857 fans per game, which is the best since 2006-07.
4. Head Coach, John Tortorella, has a history of being cantankerous toward the media. I think it’s hilarious. I’m a fan.
5. Bratwurst, French Fries, Papa John’s Pizza, Philly Cheese Steak, and Timbits from Tim Hortons, are some items you may purchase from the concession stands at Nationwide Arena. Bring your appetite. And a bib.
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
Columbus is a wildcard. They have a good young group and Tortorella has been a surprisingly good fit. Any coach that can squeeze 50 points out of Sam Gagner has my respect.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
Columbus finished last season with a record of 50-24-8, by far the best season in franchise history. That being said, they finished third in the Metropolitan Division, behind Pittsburgh and Washington.
And with the way the playoff brackets are now constructed, Columbus and Pittsburgh were forced to meet in the first round, despite being the second and third seed, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.
So for Columbus to get anywhere in the playoffs, they’re going to have to find a way to beat Pittsburgh and Washington in a 7-game series.
The Blue Jackets have a young team that has some promising forward prospects coming up like, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Sonny Milano.
A young core of Werenski, Jones, Panarin, Jenner, and Wennberg could carry this team for years to come.
They’ll make the playoffs.
ONE WILD PREDICTION
Artemi Panarin scores 40 goals this season.