A Closer Look at the Central Division, Part 1: Columbus Blue Jackets

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A Closer Look at the Central Division, Part 1: Columbus Blue Jackets

I have decided to pick apart all of the teams in the NHL, before the season starts.  Give you my take on what they did, who they lost, why they are better or worse.  This will take some time, and you will have to bear with me, all of them will be completed before  the season starts.  And, I will try my best to not be bias towards one team or another.  Also, I want to make it clear, this is the team that finished out the season…not before the trade deadline.  First team up:

Columbus Blue Jackets

LOST:

  • Ron Hainsey *UFA*
  • Dick Tarnstrom *UFA*
  • David Vyborny *UFA*
  • Zenon Konopka *Trade*
  • Nikolai Zherdev *Trade*
  • Dan Fritsche *Trade*
  • Joakim Lindstrom *Trade*
  • Gilbert Brule *Trade*

GAINED:

  • Kristian Huselius *Signed UFA*
  • Mike Commodore *Signed UFA*
  • Fedor Tyutin *Trade*
  • Christian Backman *Trade*
  • Raffi Torres *Trade*
  • RJ Umberger *Trade @ Draft*
  • Mike York *UFA*

Did the Blue Jackets improve?  Most definitely.  Are we going to win the Stanley Cup this coming season?  Probably not.  The Jackets are still lacking their number one center, but so are a lot of other teams.  The Blue Jackets top line, which will more likely look something like this:

Nash-Umberger-Huselius

That is a good line.  That’s a scoring line.  Nash has improved since Hitch has been in the organization, Umberger is probably the most capable center we have, and Huselius is a proven goal scorer.

 What will it take for the Blue Jackets to be competitive this season? Goaltending.  Pazzy has to be perfect, and I don’t think that will be a problem.  He is a great goaltender, and if he can be the Pazzy from the beginning of the season, there shouldn’t be a problem.  Norrena had a tough season last year, and in my mind I think it had a lot to do with Pazzy getting the number one job.  Norrena came in, and played in his first NHL season, and came out with being the first goaltender in Blue Jackets history to have a better than .500 record, and I am sure it stung when Pazzy took over.  He should be over that now, and be able to be a solid backup for Mr. Shutout himself.  The goaltenders should also be improved with our new bulked up blue line.

The forwards have improved also.  Losing Zherdev sucked, and I am going to miss him, but Huselius has scored more points than Z in the last two season.  We have also added Raffi Torres, and RJ Umberger, both are proven scorers.

With a little chemistry, a little lack, and hopefully not quite so many injuries, the Blue Jackets have a chance to make their first playoff appearance.  Let’s hope it doesn’t go as bad as Atlanta’s did.

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