Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Columbus Blue Jackets 2018-19 season preview



            After finishing with 108 points in 2016-17, 32 points higher than their 2015-16 finish, the Columbus Blue Jackets dropped a little, but still made the wild card, setting a franchise record for most consecutive playoff appearances, though the 18 year franchise's record is know at just two. But were knocked out by the Washington Capitals in the first round. Let's look at some fast facts for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Head Coach: John Tortorella
General Manager: Jarmo Kekalainen
Arena: Nationwide Arena
AHL Affiliate: Cleveland Monsters
2017-18 record: 45-30-7 (97 points)
2017-18 placement: 4th
Division: Metropolitan
2017-18 goals leader: Artemi Panarin (27)
2017-18 assists leader: Artemi Panarin (55)
2017-18 points leader: Artemi Panarin (82)
2017-18 points leader (defenseman): Seth Jones (57)
Captain: Nick Foligno
Assistant Captain: Boone Jenner
2018 first round pick: Liam Foudy

Offseason additions: Riley Nash, Anthony Duclair, Adam Clendening, JF Berube.

Offseason subtractions: Thomas Vanek, Jack Johnson, Matt Calvert, Ian Cole, Mark Letestu, Jordan Schroeder, Jeff Zatkoff.

Forwards: Artemi Panarin has a contract issue, and could be traded. Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Nick Foligno, Alex Wennberg and Brandon Dubinsky all had down season last year. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand had optimistic rookie years, and could each reach 50 points this year. Sonny Milano is looking to show why he was a first round pick. Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner are at rock bottom, and need to climb up. Same with Anthony Duclair, who comes in from Chicago after disappointing in Arizona.

Forward lines:

Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Nick Foligno - Alex Wennberg - Cam Atkinson
Sonny Milano - Riley Nash - Josh Anderson
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Anthony Duclair
Other: Lukas Sedlak, Markus Hannikainen

Defenseman: Seth Jones had another great year, and was second on the team in points. While the race will be tighter, I think Jones will be a top three scorer in Columbus again. Ryan Murray and David Savard need to be productive on the middle pair. Zach Werenski needs a bounce back year. Next to Markus Nutivaara, there is a fight for the sixth D spot. It will be interesting to see who wins.

Defensive pairs:

Zach Werenki - Seth Jones
Ryan Murray - David Savard
Markus Nutivaara - Gabriel Carlsson
Other: Adam Clendening, Scott Harrington.

Goalies: Sergei Bobrovsky is perhaps the leagues best goalie. Joonas Korpisalo is a top 10 backup. This here is their strength, by far.

Goalie alignment:

Sergei Bobrovsky
Joonas Korpisalo
Other: JF Berube

Predictions:

Top five scorers: 

Artemi Panarin
Pierre-Luc Dubois
Seth Jones
Cam Atkinson
Oliver Bjorkstrand

Playoffs: Yes
Division spot: 1st
I think the Columbus Blue Jackets will be eliminated in the 2nd round.

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