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CBJ year in review

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK Far from good. The Jackets went for it at the deadline the previous season adding Duchene, Dzingel, Kincaid and McQuaid, gutting a draft in the process. They stunned number one seed Tampa before losing to boston, then the bottom fell out, they lost all the new adds as well as star goalie bobrovsky and superstar forward Panarin, the only major add was Gus Nyquist. The thought was Columbus would take a step back. Or two.


FINAL RECORD 33-22-15 81 points, 5th in the Metro. They bested Toronto in five games in the first round before falling to Tampa in five in the second round.


STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR One that grabbed me right of the get is this, Columbus last fiveplayoff losses were all one goal losses. The biggie though was the 15 overtime losses, no other team had more than 12, in fact 21 teams had 8 OTL or less. 


HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON The Jackets started slow and stumbled along into mid December before catching fire beginning with a 3-0 shut out of the Capitals by Korpisalo, Columbus from then until February 7th they were the best team in Hockey, a period of nearly two months they went 18-2-3 a period when they had 7 shutouts in 23 games. Korpi was great then injured, Elvis entered the building as was off the charts. By the Time Elvis shut out the Wings 2-0 on February 7th,  the Jackets were 30-16-9 and looked like they were ready to take on the world.


LOW POINT OF THE SEASON Then the wheels came off. they lost 8 in a row, (although five were in overtime) in fact they went 3-6-6 before Covid stopped the season. Elvis looked human down the stretch and Seth Jones among others fought injuries. It was in doubt if they would make the playoffs.


WHAT WENT RIGHT Start in net. Korpisalo did an outstanding job replacing Bobrovsky before getting injured, Elvis Merzlikins stepped in and was even better. Hell even third goalie Kivlinieks had a goals against under 3. PLD was a whipping boy all year of Torts but led the team in scoring both regular season and postseason. Bjorgstrand led the team with 21 goals, Nyquist was solid with 42 points. Rookie Bemstrom was outstanding in limited ice time and looks like a solid two way performer for years to come. 

  The key to the team was team defense, Werenski had an outstanding bounce back year leading all defenders with 20 goals, Seth Jones led the team in ice time and may be the most underrated defender in the game. The two of them could be the best blueline duo in the game today.


WHAT WENT WRONG After a career year the perious season Cam atkinson came crashing back to Earth with a thud with only 12 measly goals. Milano was finally given up on and traded away. Same but moreso with Josh Anderson after looking like the games newest power forward he was injured much of the year and only scored 1 goal in 26 games. Texier was a playoff star the year before but fell off a cliff as well. Savard was solid defensively but instead of his usual 8 to 10 goals he blanked for the season. They were a particularly poor team in the dot, only Jenner among their top five centerman was over fifty percent at winning faceoffs.


  Injuries killed this club, a thinned out roster that could not afford to lose anyone lost pretty much everyone at one time or another. Atkinson missed 26 games, Bjorgstrand 21, Jones 14, Wennberg 13, Bemstrom 14, Texier missed 34, Anderson missed 44, Nutivaara 33, Ryan Murray missed 43, Korpisalo was out for a month and a half. A team that needed all hands on deck somehow kept in the hunt with more injuries to key players than almost any team in the game.


FREE AGENTS None, literally zero. After losing six key players to free agency last season not a single roster player will be gone that way this year.Plus this year they have their first rounder after only having one pick in the first four rounds last year.


OFFSEASON QUESTIONS Returning an entire roster, outstanding prospect Liam foudy got his feet wet and should make the top nine along with Anderson and Texier returning from injuries, should Columbus make a move for a middle six center to balance the roster? No offense to long time Jackets Savard and Murray cannot be counted on to stay healthy or contribute do the Jackets need to improve the middle pairing on defense as well?


  Not a shabby season for a team that most wrote off this season before it even began.

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