Columbus Blue Jackets preview

Overview: The Columbus Blue Jackets’ season rests on the back of only one man on the team.

Steve Mason.

With all due respect to Rick Nash, Mason needs to be the man in Columbus. If Mason can’t come near his rookie season from two years ago, this team isn’t coming close to challenging for a playoff spot.

Best offseason move: Signing Jared Boll. Okay, maybe it’s not the greatest offseason move by a team. But they signed him for two years for only a $725,000 cap hit, which is a good deal for a fighter nowadays. The Montreal Canadiens are going to be paying Georges Laraque $500,000 to do nothing (before he was bought out, the cap hit was $1.5 million). The New York Rangers are paying Derek Boogaard $1.625 for four years to be their fighter. So $725,000 was a pretty good deal.

Worst offseason move: Not getting Rick Nash some help. I’m not talking about second or third-line help. I’m talking about helping him on the ice. If Nash could ever get a quality centre on his line who could feed him the puck, he’d be potting 50 goals a season easy. Instead, he gets 40 goals a year by doing everything himself.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Steve Mason for the Jennings

Pool pick: Nikita Filatov. Remember him? He’s the guy who couldn’t play for Columbus when Ken Hitchcock was the coach, so we went to Russia to play. A year later, he’s on the top two lines. The guy is insanely talented, but hasn’t been able to score at the NHL level yet. But if he’s getting the ice time, he will this season. Who to stay away from: R.J. Umberger. He hovers around the 50-point mark. Which means he could just as easily get 40 as he could 60. I think this year he’ll be closer to 40.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the NHL players who have played at least one regular season game with the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Best hall of fame choice: Rick Nash. No one else on the team comes close. He’s scored 40 goals in a season twice, and already has 227 career goals, so he should be able to hit 500. He has an Olympic gold medal and a world championship gold (plus two silvers at the worlds and another silver and the world juniors). He also has a Rocket Richard trophy. He still needs quite a bit to make it, but he’s well on his way.

Blog to follow: Light the Lamp

My Prediction: Third in the Central, ninth in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Maggie Grace


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