GDHQNHL15_2pg-Columbus Blue Jackets 1

NY Islanders Gameday HQ

Columbus BLUE JACKETS Key Additions: LW Scott Hartnell; C Brian Gibbons; LW Jerry D’Amigo Key Subtractions: D Nikita Nikitin; C R.J. Umberger; LW Blake Comeau; D Nick Schultz; C Derek MacKenzie; RW Jack Skille Strengths: Grit on both ends, strong power play Weaknesses: Lacking in star power Offense This isn’t one of the NHL’s most potent attacks, but it’s far from the worst. Columbus finished 13th in scoring last year and was cheered considerably by the 33-goal outburst by Ryan Johansen. Of course, that led to discord during the off-season between the club and the 22-year old, who more than doubled his previous two-year total (14 goals) and then announced that it was time to get paid. And he wasn’t talking about the “bridge” contract the team offered, either. He wanted big money. When it wasn’t offered right away, an impasse ensued. If Johansen settles everything and isn’t grouchy in the dressing room, he’s a top-flight first-line center who will work between Boone Jenner (16 goals in ’13-14) and Nathan Horton (5 in 36 games). Of course, there is some trouble with that bit of paradise. Jenner broke his hand during training camp, and Horton is suffering from a degenerative back condition. If everybody gets healthy and happy, it should be a formidable unit. The Jackets’ second line isn’t at all weak. Columbus bestowed a fat contract on center Brandon Dubinsky, after he registered 16 goals and 50 points last season. And it traded R.J. Umberger back to Philadelphia for winger Scott Hartnell, who scored 37 goals in 2011-12 but only 20 last year. They’ll work with Cam Atkinson, who scored 21 times last season. Expect Artem Anisimov to be a formidable third-line pivotman again, while Nick Foligno is dangerous on his wing. The Blue Jackets imported Jerry D’Amigo for some fourth line depth, and he’ll be happy to play with center Mark Letestu. Expect another big year from defenseman James Wisniewski, who had a team-high 44 assists last year and helps the attack greatly. He and fellow blue-liner Jack Johnson are big weapons at the top of the zone for the Blue Jacket attack. Defense Last year’s Columbus defense surrendered the 12th-fewest goals in the NHL, a big reason the team made it to the post-season for the second time in franchise history and why it was able to stretch Pittsburgh to six games in the opening round of the playoffs. There aren’t many name brands on the team, but the unit is steady and productive. More than EASTERN CONFERENCE METROPOLITAN DIVISION Sergei Bobrovsky Jamie Sabau/NHL/Getty Images;


NY Islanders Gameday HQ
To see the actual publication please follow the link above