Up front, they could add some names like Jakub Voracek and Derrick Brassard to the mix for some young size and talent. Gilbert Brule has already been added to the mix and Rick Nash could use a little bit more flair and playmaking to utilize in his attack. If you were to look at the team right now (in the forward position), there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme o reason in the way it's all put together. Once there is some solid line combinations, only then could be confident that Nash would return to his 50-goal form from a few years ago. The form will be the cornerstone of the Blue Jackets success this season and Head Coach Ken Hitchcock will have to sniff out the right linemates.
On defense, there looks like there could be a spot open for Kris Russell. Russell had a great year with the Medicine Hat Tigers (69 points in 59 games) and should be able to bring that sort of offensive talent to the Blue Jackets' blueline. He could very well be a bit of a sleeper if he can make his way into and through camp. Hainsey and Klesla remain as the better picks for Blue Jacket defensemen for the pool, but if Hejda gets more minutes in Columbus, he may work himself into a good spot as well.
In goal, Fredrik Norrena won the number one job midway through last season and should be the number one guy heading into camp. He performed well in 55 games, earning 24 wins on a sub-par team. He will give you starting goaltender minutes, but it does seem rather unlikely that the Jackets are going to win anymore games than they did in the past couple seasons.
|Rick Nash||Sergei Fedorov||David Vyborny|
|Fredrik Modin||Dan Fritsche||Nikolai Zherdev|
|Jason Chimera||Mike Peca||Gilbert Brule|
|Jiri Novotny||Kris Beech||Jody Shelley|
|Ron Hainsey||Rostislav Klesla|
|Adam Foote||Duvie Westcott|
|Jan Hejda||Ole-Kristian Tollefsen|
Going into camp, the Blue Jackets starting 21 is only worth about $38.1 million against the cap. I could imagine them taking on Voracek and Russell towards their 23-man maximum and having them get some time on the ice, but their entry-level contracts would not hit the cap any harder, so there is next to no worry about that issue.
NHL, Hockey, Hockey Pool, Columbus Blue Jackets, Rick Nash