Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
The Columbus Blue Jackets are not only new to the Capitals division, they are new to the Eastern Conference altogether.
The Blue Jackets played the previous 12 seasons of their existence in the Western Conference. Columbus just missed qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs during the 2012-13 season. They finished with 55 points and lost a tiebreaker to the Minnesota Wild.
In 2013-14, the Blue Jackets will be a team the Capitals must keep an eye on. Columbus boasts the reigning Vezina Trophy winner in Sergei Bobrovsky.
Plus, John Kreiser of NHL.com writes that Columbus should be boosted by the performance of Marian Gaborik, as long as an interesting pattern repeats itself this season. See for yourself:
Gaborik is riding one of the most pronounced every-other-season stretches in NHL history. In 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2011-12, he's had at least 41 goals, 76 points and a plus-15 rating while missing no more than six games. But those seasons have alternated with 13-, 22- and 12-goal performances during which he's battled injuries and inconsistency.
The Caps better hope that both Bobrovsky and Gaborik have off years. Otherwise, Columbus' addition to the Metropolitan Division will only make the Capitals' lives more difficult.