ackets' lineup lacks star power but has depth
Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 3:00 AM / 30 in 30
By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer
Last season began with great expectations, but a disastrous start, injuries and another year of sub-par goaltending left the Columbus Blue Jackets in disarray. They finished with the worst record in the League, but the Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery and the No. 1 pick.
General manager Scott Howson added goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky at the draft in a trade and potentially a franchise defenseman with No. 2 pick Ryan Murray. Eventually, Howson traded the franchise's greatest player, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers.
In the aftermath, the Blue Jackets are lacking in star power but do have a lot of options up front and on defense. They are going to have to score by committee, but if Bobrovsky can play well behind what should be a decent defense, the Blue Jackets will be more competitive.
There are a lot of possibilities in Columbus, and training camp will likely be something of an open tryout.
R.J. Umberger - Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov
Cam Atkinson - Derick Brassard - Nick Foligno
Vinny Prospal - Ryan Johansen - Derek Dorsett
Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll
Fedor Tyutin - James Wisniewski
Jack Johnson - Ryan Murray
John Moore - Nikita Nikitin
NOTES: It might not be a bad idea to start with pairing Dubinsky and Anisimov because they came together from New York. Umberger and Dubinsky also play a similar style and could mesh well. If the Blue Jackets were fully committed to rebuilding, Johansen would be centering one of the top two lines and playing 20 minutes a night. He might end up on the wing, though, as a way to try to develop him while the team tries to compete.
Aucoin could be a nice mentor for the kids on defense, but if Murray makes the team, the veteran isn't likely to be among the top six on the blue line. There are other possibilities here -- David Savard and newly acquired Tim Erixon. Depth on defense shouldn't be an issue.
Mason played better at the end of last season after getting an adjustment to his equipment, but Bobrovsky should be No. 1 at the start of the season unless he falters.