Previewing the East: Columbus
Jackets got stronger up the middle, hope to lock second straight playoff berth
Sure you are.
The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Columbus Blue Jackets:
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Coach: Todd Richards
Last Year: 43-32-7, 93 points (seventh in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Blue Jackets: 1-2-0
5-on-5 Goals: 149 (eighth in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 54-for-280, 19.3 percent (seventh in Eastern Conference)
|2013-14 Stats||Vs. Red Wings|
|IN THE CREASE|
|vs. Red Wings|
Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Nov. 18 (at CBJ); Dec. 16 (at DET); Mar. 12 (at DET).
ARRIVALS: Forwards Scott Hartnell, Brian Gibbon and Jerry D’Amigo.
DEPARTURES: Forwards R.J. Umberger, Derek MacKenzie, Blake Comeau, Jack Skille, Matt Frattin, Cody Bass and Carter Camper; defensemen Nick Schultz and Nikita Nikitin; and goalies Mike McKenna and Jeremy Smith.
SEASON SCOPE: Unlike last summer, when they snapped up Nathan Horton, signing the UFA forward to a seven-year contract, the Blue Jackets approached this year’s open market with more of a cautious eye. With the emergence of burgeoning young stars, including Ryan Johansen, Boone Jenner, David Savard, and the trade that landed them top-six forward Scott Hartnell from Philadelphia, the Jackets certainly seem to be on the rise. Newly acquired Brian Gibbons (UFA, Pittsburgh) and Jerry D’Amigo (trade with Toronto) will head to training camp vying for regular season roster spots as fourth-line contributors.
The Jackets are coming off a franchise-best 93-point season – their first in the Eastern Conference since NHL re-alignment – and just their second playoff berth in 13 seasons. The next step is winning a playoff series, something they haven’t done in their history. Metro Detroit native James Wisniewski is coming off a career-year when he produced seven goals and 51 points from the blue line in 75 games. Can he do it again?
|2014-15 EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS|
|Atlantic Division||Metropolitan Division|
|Buffalo (July 24)||Carolina (Aug. 7)|
|Boston (sep. 11)||Columbus (Aug. 21)|
|Florida (July 29)||New Jersey (Aug. 14)|
|Montreal (Sep. 2)||NY Islanders (July 31)|
|Ottawa (Aug. 12)||NY Rangers (Aug. 28)|
|Tampa Bay (Sep. 4)||Philadelphia (Aug. 26)|
|Toronto (Aug. 5)||Pittsburgh (sep. 9)|
|Washington (Aug. 19)|