As the NHL trade deadline approaches quickly, it is important to know where all of your division rivals stand. As Editor of Bleedin’ Blue, I reached out to the editors of our fellow Fansided NHL networks within the Central Division to get their input on where their teams stand. Last of our installments is the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to Ben Bean.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a whole new organization. From management to the product on the ice, little is the same as last season. Do you think Columbus is on their way to being a major competitor in the near future?
When looking at Columbus, they are very comparable to the St. Louis Blues back in 2007 or 2008. The Blue Jackets are one of the hardest working team in the league (much like the Blues back in the day), and they are in rebuilding mode.
The good news for Columbus is they are actually pretty solid at the back end. Sergei Bobrovsky is a very good goaltender, and defensively (Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski, Nikita Nikitin) they are pretty well set. The obvious problem in Columbus has been the lack of goal scoring ability.
Do you think the Blue Jackets are a team that would take a chance on a possible rental player like Jarome Iginla if they were made available? Could one big name make a difference for this team?
The Jackets have turned it around lately though. They have earned points in nine straight, and have been getting those timely goals that they were lacking in the beginning of the year. Despite this recent turn, I would be surprised if this club makes the playoffs. There are too many teams in the Western Conference with more skill up front, and that would be almost impossible to overcome. Still, stranger things have happened. They could make a big move.
Who, if anyone, are the untouchables on the Blue Jackets roster in your point-of-view?
This season, Bobrovsky has really impressed me. With and 8-6-5 record, a 2.11 GAA and a .927 SV%, “Bob” has kept Columbus in every game. Without him, this club is in the Western Conference cellar.
Do you think the Blue Jackets can string together some wins and make the playoffs? If not, will this finally be the season Columbus wins the lottery and gets the first overall pick?
I see the Blue Jackets being a playoff team within four seasons. John Davidson knows what he’s doing, and I’m sure he has a vision for Columbus. Building from within will be a big part of what the Blue Jackets eventually become.
What are your feelings about moving to the Eastern Conference? Will this help boost the fan base in Columbus with new rivals in closer proximities?
I don’t see the division realignment hurting this club, but it really doesn’t help too much. The Jackets are currently in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL, and they essentially will be moving to the Atlantic Division with Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York, which won’t be easy either.
As a Blue Jackets writer, what is your impression of this year’s St. Louis Blues?
The St. Louis Blues are a very good hockey club. Consistency has been a major problem for them (especially at the goaltending position), but right now they are fourth in the Western Conference. They have had their fair share of injuries (like Columbus), but call-ups have been very good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team make it deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I want to thank Ben for his time and information for this segment and welcome everyone to check out his work over at Fire That Cannon. Also check out our pieces on the Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators for more information.
LET’S GO BLUES!