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Jackets not feeling Blue, year in review


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PRESEASON OUTLOOK Most if not all pundits picked them for last place as Tortorella was fired, long time Captain Foligno moved on, the team was in transition and nobody took them serious.

 

FINAL RECORD 37-38-7 81 points 6th in the Metro

 

HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR They quietly stunned pretty much everyone by starting hot, winning a lot more than they lost highlighted by sweeping a home and home against the Colorado Avalanche in early November. When they beat the Canucks 4-2 on November 26th they had won three in a row and ran their record to 12-6. 

 

LOW POINT OF THE YEAR Then the reality of who they were set in, they lost 8 of 10 going into the Christmas Break.  The top four in both Eastern Divisions were pretty well set, Columbus tried to get back into the conversation but pretty much remained 10 points or so outside of a playoff spot.

 

WHAT WENT RIGHT  Voracek who came over from the Flyers had 56 assists to far and away power the team. Bjorgstrand has become the teams go to guy when they need a goal and had 28. Boone Jenner was having a fantastic season until he was injured and missed the seasons final 23 games. Laine had 26 goals and 56 points. Gus Nyquist who missed the year before bounced back with his usual 51 point season. Roslovic was good. Kuraly isnt flashy and may be under a lot of radars but had a fantastic year. Werenski missed some time but when on the ice he did very well without Jones. Boqvuist had 11 goals from the blueline. 18 year old Cole Sillinger made the team and stuck and did not embarrass himself. Merzlikens was good. Not great, at all, but servicable. Justin Danforth came out of nowhere to punch in 10 goals in half a season. Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg turned pro after Michigan lost in college hockey and look ready to produce next year.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG Korpisalo was god awful. Domi was as well, so much so that at the deadline they got very mittle in return and had to more or less donate him to Carolina. Chinakhov a former first rounder did nothing in his first extended look to justify the pick. Merzlikens goes in this cat as well, he was consistently inconsistent and used way too heavily he was 5th in the league in starts.  emil Bemstrom has been given every chance to establish himself as a 20 goal a year scorer but is looking very suspect. Same with Texier who in spite of being given chance after chance cannot seem to get established,

 

FREE AGENTS Dean Kukan, a servable but replaceable defender and Korpisalo who was awful wont be back. Other than that the team remains intact for next year and the year after. The Jackets have their own first rounder (12) as well as the Hawks pick which is number six. 

 

TOP PROSPECTS Kent Johnson is a top playmaking prospect who certainly will be a top six forward and Calder candidate. Liam Foudy had a good year in Cleveland and hopes to crack the top nine. Karell Marchenko may come from the KHL and if so will likely start in Cleveland but has huge upside as a playmaker. Danill Tarasov will replace Korpisalo and is a fantastic goalie prospect who will get 30 starts next year giving Elvis a bit more rest. The forwards are young and hungry and ready to stick around. Nick Blankenburg as well, fresh from the Michigan program he can score and plays a heavy game.

 

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR Justin Danforth sounds like a millennial working at his dads accounting firm but he is a grade C prospect who got a forty five game look by the Jackets and didnt do bad. His home/road splits were dreadful, home in 20 games he managed a dreadful 2 goals and 1 assists and a timid 32 shots. On the road in 25 games he had 8 goals and 3 assists with nearly double the shots. I think when they are at home instead of letting him sleep in his bed at home they need to rent him a hotel room because he seems to play much better out of a suitcase.

 

OUTLOOK Look, I am not saying I love this team but a top nine of Laine, Sillinger, Jenner, Voracek, Bjorgstrand, Roslovic, Nyquist, Chinakov, and Kent Johnson with Blankenburg chomping at the heels of anyone who slacks is pretty solid. Goaltending will be better with Tarasov pushing Elvis. The defense could use one or even two players but Werenski.Bean, Gavrikov and Boquist is not a bad top four. I like where they are positioning themselves especially with two picks in the top twelve in this draft. If they hit  on both Columbus could get very good very soon.

 

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