Blue Jackets season preview: Gaudreau to impact offense

The 2022-23 NHL season begins Oct. 7. With coaching camps opening quickly, NHL.com is looking on the three keys, inside scoop on roster questions, and projected lineup for every of the 32 groups. Today, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Coach: Brad Larsen (second season)

Last season: 37-38-7, sixth place in Metropolitan Division; didn’t qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs

3 KEYS

1. Gaudreau’s impact

The Blue Jackets arguably landed the prize of free company by signing the left wing Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $68.25 million contract ($9.75 million annual common worth) on July 13. Last season, Gaudreau completed tied for second within the NHL with a career-high 115 factors (40 objectives, 75 assists) in 82 video games for the Calgary Flames.

The Blue Jackets have not had a participant of Gaudreau’s ilk since Artemi Panarin performed two seasons in Columbus from 2017-19. Panarin would go on to go away through free company, although, when he signed with the New York Rangers on July 1, 2019. That identical summer time, the Blue Jackets additionally misplaced a goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and ahead Matt Duchene in free company.

The hope in Columbus is that Gaudreau’s signing adjustments the narrative and reveals that Ohio’s capital metropolis generally is a vacation spot marketplace for the highest gamers within the NHL, however he and the Blue Jackets have to showcase that on the ice, too.

That means the stress is on for Gaudreau to convey his offensive sport to the Blue Jackets, who want it after lacking the Stanley Cup Playoffs by 19 factors final season.

2. Laine’s manufacturing

Gaudreau might have a major impact on the fitting wing Patrick Laine each at even energy and on the ability play. They’re arrange to be the 2 wings on Columbus’ high line and ought to be the playmaker (Gaudreau) and shooter (Laine) on the highest power-play unit.

Laine, who showcased his pleasure over Gaudreau by signing a four-year, $34.8 million contract ($8.7 million AAV) on July 23, had 56 factors (26 objectives, 30 assists) in 56 video games for the Blue Jackets final season, however that was with no participant like Gaudreau setting him up. He might be a 50-goal scorer this season.

Video: Top 5 Patrik Laine Plays from the 2021-22 Season

3. Center depth

One of the most important questions for the Blue Jackets is who will play middle on the highest line, probably between Gaudreau and Laine? They shouldn’t have a confirmed No. 1 middle.

The high three candidates are Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Cole Sillinger. Rookie Kent Johnson might be an possibility if they struggle to put him between Gaudreau and Laine and he impresses, however he is extra of an extended shot.

With that being stated, Jenner is perhaps the favourite. The 29-year-old is a veteran middle who can go get the puck low within the zone and get better shortly, successfully doing all of the soiled work crucial to ensure that Gaudreau and Laine are as efficient as they want to be. He can rating, too. Last season he had 44 factors (23 objectives, 21 assists) in 59 video games.

Roslovic, who has performed with Laine previously, had 45 factors (22 objectives, 23 assists) in 81 video games final season.

Sillinger, in the meantime, impressed as an 18-year-old rookie, getting 31 factors (16 objectives, 15 assists) in 79 video games. He too will get his alternative, however the third line is perhaps the place he begins.

ROSTER RUNDOWN

Making the reduce

Johnson and proper wing Kirill Marchenko are the 2 most intriguing gamers to watch in coaching camp. There are spots accessible for each rookies, however the Blue Jackets won’t hesitate to begin them within the American Hockey League in the event that they assume they want extra seasoning. Johnson, who was the No. 5 decide within the 2021 NHL Draft, had three assists in 9 video games final season after the 19-year-old completed his sophomore season on the University of Michigan. Marchenko is getting into his first season in North America after the 22-year-old performed the previous three seasons with SKA St. Petersburg within the Kontinental Hockey League. With ahead Alexandre Texier not enjoying this season per the recommendation and suggestion of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, the Blue Jackets may have to fill that gap. Mathieu Olivier, Justin Danforth, Emil Bemstrom and Liam Foudy may even compete for roster spots.

Defenseman Nick Blankenburg can win a job within the high six in coaching camp, however to try this he’ll probably have to beat out Jake Bean or Andrew Peeke.

Most intriguing addition

That Gaudreau selected the Blue Jackets was one of many largest storylines this offseason. There was a number of speak about him doubtlessly going to play for the Philadelphia Flyers, his hometown staff, the New Jersey Devils or New York Islanders, however the 29-year-old ahead selected Columbus, which was not anticipated. Now the stress is on him to ship for the Blue Jackets.

Video: Johnny Gaudreau Joins NHL Tonight

Biggest potential shock

Johnson is just not a lock for the opening-night roster, he has to earn it in coaching camp. However, if he makes it, he might be an prompt hit within the Blue Jackets’ lineup. Johnson had 37 factors (eight objectives, 29 assists) in 32 video games at Michigan final season, and he might have extra time to develop. He’s solely 6-foot-1 and 167 kilos, but when he makes the staff, it is as a result of the Blue Jackets consider he generally is a big-time participant for them immediately.

Ready to break via

Adam Boqvist is 22 years previous, and he is already performed in 128 NHL video games with the Chicago Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. Chicago was so excessive on the 6-foot, 189-pound Sweden-born defenseman that it chosen him with the No. 8 picks within the 2018 NHL Draft. Columbus was so excessive on him that he was the important thing piece it bought in return within the commerce for defenseman Seth Jones on July 23, 2021. Boqvist completed with 22 factors (11 objectives, 11 assists) in 52 video games final season, and he may have an opportunity to play on the highest pair with Zach Werenski if he proves he generally is a more practical participant within the defensive zone.

Fantasy sleeper

Roslovic, C (undrafted on common in fantasy) — He led the Blue Jackets in 5-on-5 objectives per 60 minutes (1.08; minimal 50 video games) final season, and his potential to be the middle on the highest line with elite wings Gaudreau and Laine makes him a deep sleeper. — Anna Dua

PROJECTED LINEUP

Johnny Gaudreau — Boone Jenner — Patrick Laine

Gustav Nyquist — Jack Roslovic — Jakub Voracek

Kent Johnson — Cole Sillinger — Kirill Marchenko

Eric RobinsonSean Kuraly — Mathieu Olivier

Zach Werenski — Erik Gudbranson

Vladislav Gavrikov — Adam Boqvist

Jake Bean – Nick Blankenburg

Elvis Merzlikins

Joonas Korpisalo

.

Leave a Comment