Monday, September 28, 2009

Jackets Are Extending Their Coverage

The Blue Jackets trimmed their training camp roster by nine players, getting it down to 27 on Monday. On their way down to the Syracuse included forwards Stefan Legein & Maksim Mayorov and defensemen Nick Holden & Jonathan Sigalet.

There isn't a great deal of surprise out of this set of moves, since the Blue Jackets are getting to be rather deep in talent. With still four cuts to go, there will be some tough decisions on who to let go from Jackets camp over the next few days.

Rick NashFedor TyutinSteve Mason
Kristian HuseliusMike CommodoreMathieu Garon
R.J. UmbergerJan Hejda
Antoine VermetteKris Russell
Jakub VoracekMarc Methot
Derrick BrassardAnton Stralman
Fredrik ModinRostislav Klesla
Jason ChimeraMathieu Roy
Raffi Torres

Samuel Pahlsson

Jared Boll

Andrew Murray

Derek Dorsett

Nikita Filatov

Alexandre Picard

Michael Blunden

Matt Calvert**

The addition of Anton Stralman from Calgary today makes the decision between defensemen all that much harder, as the team is stockpiled in good defenders already. I am really looking forward to seeing if Kris Russell (pictured) is going to be the real deal this season, after a number of good seasons in junior and a couple of up-and-down seasons between Columbus and Syracuse.

The offense should be good to go with the likes of Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius, Derrick Brassard and Nikita Filatov leading the way. I'm expecting a lot of good things to come from that foursome this year.

Salary CapSince the Jackets are such a young team, it should come as no surprise that the overall roster is still rather cap-friendly. All 27 players in the list above come in at a more-than-reasonable $50.2 million, far and away some of the best value per cap hit. If the Jackets are going to make a run this year, I would have to believe that they will be in the market for buying a key veteran player who has done the playoff run before. That was one of the things that they may have been missing in their first round exit against the Red Wings.

Every season now, the Jackets seem to get deeper and deeper. Since we're talking about whats going on now, you'll see that there is plenty of scoring to choose from at various levels of the draft this year. If their scoring is relatively better than last season, it should be a much easier job for Steve Mason to win some games this year, meaning that he'll be a huge pick-up for any fantasy team. His size and style of play should help him avoid the sophomore jinx this year, but it even gets the best of players from year to year. Stock is rising in Columbus... buy! Buy! Buy!

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