Thursday, September 20, 2007


An Off-Season Look at ... The Columbus Blue Jackets

by Jes

The Columbus Blue Jackets finally got it right and canned Doug MacLean like Campbell's soup this summer. Thanks to MacLean's lack of direction, and buy-high, sell-low philosophy, the Blue Jackets were hamstrung with a bunch of expensive veterans and short on actual talent.

Unfortunately, it will take a year or two for Dougie's mistakes to be off of the books for the BJs, and the dearth of prospects in the organization makes this team's future less than bright.

Here is the BJs roster as of today ... lots of expensive, old crap.

Amazingly, the BJs have lots of room under the cap, and will shed the contracts of Fedorov, and Foote after this season.

The BJs could be better, but they are beset by organization-wide underachieving.

Nik Zherdev - Signs a lucrative deal, and then sleepwalks through the season with 32 points. The BJ's are thinking of trying him at center, and it seems he'll pout if that happens. What a baby!

Rick Nash - 27 goals at that salary? Yeesh...

Sergei Fedorov - Perhaps he should play back at defence, because 42 points in 73 games is just awful.

Really, there isn't anyone on the roster, save for the surprising Norrena and hard-working Chimera, that really give you good bang for their buck, and play to their full potential. Even with the coaching change, Columbus still sucked eggs last season.

This season? It'll be more of the same. The BJs have one of the worst defence corps in the league, and shaky goaltending.

The forward corps LOOKS to be fairly decent and balanced, and will need to play up to its potential for the BJs to have a sniff of success.

In the end, this club will be fighting with the Hawks and Oilers for dead last in the conference.

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With the salary cap room already available plus the exits of Foote and Fedorov... If Columbus is able to spend to the cap, we can see an aggressive attack in the UFA market at the end of the season and a quick rebuild of the team. They will be able to improve in all areas with that much room and I'm confident that the new GM will do a good job improving the team (much better than Mclean) for the deserving Columbus fans. Good luck for them, I'm an Avs fan, but I hope these fans get a reason to be happy about their team.
In the end, this club will be fighting with the Hawks and Oilers for dead last in the conference.

I think you forgot about Phoenix (don't worry, most people do).
Sir, I disagree with your thoughts and will now be unsubscribing from your newsletter.

But in all seriousness, I do not agree with your opinion that the Blue Jackets' prospect depth is shallow, or as you put it, there is a "dearth" of prospects.

Jakub Voracek's been repeatedly touted as one of the only NHL-ready players in this recent draft (even if he won't be playing in the NHL this season). Derrick Brassard bounced back from last year's injury to lead his junior team to their league's playoffs, and has been showing some pretty good stuff during this training camp, practically becoming a David Vyborny-lite in terms of his ability to set plays up. Kris Russel is making it all but impossible to send him to the 'Cuse with his sound play and skill on the PP. Steve Mason was named the OHL Goaltender of the Year this past OHL season.

And don't forget that the CBJ's prospects have finished 1st, 1st, and 2nd in the past three years of the Traverse City Prospect Tourney. If our prospects were that bad, they wouldn't be finishing so well, even if only about 1/3rd of the NHL teams -- maybe a few more -- send their teams to this tourney.

The team might be a hair over abysmal this season, if none of the veterans step up and when you consider the bigger leaps and bounds that the other teams in the Western Conference have made. And I won't argue about where the team could very well finish, since all signs point to somewhere between 11th and 15th.

But to say there's a 'dearth' of prospect depth? No. I don't buy that. I don't buy that at all, especially after being on-hand for much of this training camp and seeing the prospects myself.
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