Metropolitan Division Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

Coach – John Tortorella

2016-17 Record and Standing: 50-24-8, 3rd in Metro

Key Additions

Artemi Panarin (acquired via trade with Chicago)

Tyler Motte (acquired via trade with Chicago)

Jordan Schroeder (acquired via trade with Minnesota)

Alexander Wennberg (re-signed to a 6 year contract)

Key Subtractions

Kyle Quincey (to Minnesota via free agency)

Brandon Saad (to Chicago via trade)

Anton Forsberg (to Chicago via trade)

William Karlsson (to Vegas via expansion draft)

Preview

The Blue Jackets are a team to watch.

They finished 3rd in the Metropolitan Division last season, but also finished 4th in the entire NHL with 108 points in the regular season.  When healthy, Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky proved that he is one of the best in the business.  Cam Atkinson established himself as a legitimate goal-scorer in this league, notching a career high 35 goals.

Young talents such as Wennberg, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Zach Werenski all had breakout seasons last year, and look to keep getting better.  The addition of Panarin will only aid in an already explosive offense.  Despite losing some significant names such as Saad, Quincey, and Karlsson, the Blue Jackets will surely be a threat in the Metropolitan Divison once again.

Prediction

I think the Blue Jackets will once again break the 100-point plateau in the 2017-18 season, and will finish 2nd in the Metropolitan Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 47-28-7 record.

However, this all is dependent on the health status of Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bob has a history of injuries, and if he gets injured long term, it will put the Jackets’ season in jeopardy.

However, with a healthy Sergei Bobrovsky, the sky is the limit for this team.  Artemi Panarin has two 30+ goal seasons since he entered the NHL, and I would look for that trend to continue with his new team.

Look for Alexander Wennberg to build off of his terrific season in 2016-17 (13G-46A-59P) and put up 15-20 goals and 60-65 points.  Zach Werenski will be talked about a lot next season, and he will put up 50+ points.  Finally, don’t sleep on Oliver Bjorkstand who had 13 points in 26 games last year.  He will be an NHL regular this season and has potential to net 20+ goals and 45-50 points in his sophomore campaign.

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