The 2015-16 season for the Columbus Blue Jackets was one that fell short of expectations, in large part due to the infestation of the injury bug. The Blue Jackets missed a whopping 503 man games to injury – the most in the NHL. Key players including Sergei Bobrovsky, Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner, Artem Anisimov, and Ryan Murray all missed significant time with injury. Luckily, the team came together towards the end of the season and ended the year on a strong 9-0-1 run, poising themselves for a promising 2015-16 campaign. Let’s take a look at what the season will hold.
|Line 1||Brandon Saad||Ryan Johansen||Nick Foligno|
|Line 2||Boone Jenner||Brandon Dubinsky||Rene Bourque|
|Line 3||Scott Hartnell||Alexander Wennberg||Cam Atkinson|
|Line 4||Matt Calvert||Gregory Campbell||David Clarkson|
Key Additions: Brandon Saad, Gregory Campbell
While Campbell is an excellent addition that should provide veteran leadership, grit and penalty killing, the key addition is far and away the acquisition of Brandon Saad. The 22-year old looks to be a cornerstone piece of the offence and is developing some chemistry with Ryan Johansen and captain Nick Foligno.
Key Departures: Artem Anisimov, Mark Dano, Mark Letestu, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin
Moving out Artem Anisimov and Mark Dano in the Saad deal was a no brainer for Jarmo Kekalainen. Anisimov is a solid two way player, but the emergence of Alexander Wennberg and a healthy Brandon Dubinsky make him expendable. Mark Dano is a promising young forward but is far below Saad’s ceiling.
|Pairing 1||Jack Johnson||David Savard|
|Pairing 2||Ryan Murray||Fedor Tytuin|
|Pairing 3||Kevin Connauton||Dalton Prout|
There were no major departures from last year’s blue line, other than James Wisniewski who was dealt at last years deadline. The key addition is a healthy Ryan Murray who will look to take the next step in his development towards being a bonafide NHL defenceman.
No surprises here. This team lives and dies with Sergei Bobrovsky, while McElhinney is a serviceable backup.
Blue Jackets Record: 45-26-11 (101 points)
Regular Season Standings: 3rd, Metropolitan Division. 4th, Western Conference.
Playoff Outlook: Lose in the Conference Semi-Finals to division rivals, Washington Capitals.
Not-so-bold prediction: The Saad-Johansen-Foligno line will thrive this season after scoring a combined 29 preseason points in 11 total games played.
Bold prediction: David Clarkson will have a productive season scoring 15 goals, 20 assists.
Coming out Party: Ryan Murray will take the reigns on the blue line and become a leader.
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