Another full season of NHL Hockey is just right around the corner, and the Blue Jackets are looking to rebound off a season you would call a ‘dud’. But first things first, this is going to be a very emotional season for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Just about 2 months ago, Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks passed away in an attempt to save another Blue Jackets Goalie Elvis Merzlikins, and his pregnant wife from a fireworks accident, standing just feet away. As a result of the saving attempt, Matiss took a direct hit to the chest from a fireworks mortar shell. He was taken to the nearest hospital, and was later pronounced dead.
Rest In Peace, Matiss Kivlenieks, 1996-2021.
According to dailyfaceoff.com, these are the projected forward lines for the Blue Jackets:
Line 1: LW: P. Laine, C: J. Roslovic, RW: O. Bjorkstrand
Line 2: LW: G. Nyquist, C: M. Domi, RW: J. Voracek
Line 3: LW: B. Jenner, C: A. Texier, RW: L. Foudy
Line 4: LW: E. Robinson, C: S. Kuraly, RW: E. Bemstrom
Columbus has a pretty average offense with a decent first two lines, a very underrated third line, and a really ‘unknown’ fourth line. One move that stands out from the offseason is the trading of Cam Atkinson, who has sent to Philadelphia in exchange for another veteran winger Jakub Voracek. Another name on this list of forwards is Patrik Laine, who was traded for Pierre Luc-Dubois with Winnipeg. Now Laine still has a lot to prove, after only scoring 10 goals, and accumulating a total of 21 points last year. But Laine will get a chance to prove himself once more, with lots of first line help from Jack Roslovic, and Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Here are the projected defensive pairings:
LD: Zach Werenski, RD: Adam Boqvist
LD: V. Gavrikov, RD: A. Peeke
LD: J. Bean, RD D. Kukan
Other than the first line of defense, this defense unit does not have much depth, which could turn into a huge problem for the Blue Jackets. Especially if Zach Werenski were to get traded at or before the Trade Deadline. Werenski is a huge piece to this team, and would be a significant loss if he were to leave Columbus, as he is currently one of the Top defenseman in the league.
Starter: Elvis Merzlikins
Backup: Joonas Korpisalo
The Blue Jackets are most likely to play these two evenly just like last year. Merzlikins and Korpisalo produced almost identical stats in a shortened season last year. But if Columbus decides to put one of them in more of an actual starter role, they would most likely be named just before the start of the regular season.
The Columbus Blue Jackets will look to get back in the playoffs this year, after finishing last in the one-time, Central Division. This year, they will join back into arguably the hardest division in the NHL, the Metropolitan Division. This seasons going to be real tough for the Blue Jackets, but hopefully they can make a deep playoff run with a major upset like back in 2019, in honor of their late teammate Matiss Kivlenieks.
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