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Columbus’ Umberger: “We have a lot of second-line players”

Jul 29, 2012, 2:41 PM EDT

R.J. Umberger AP

Over at the Columbus Dispatch, Aaron Portzline has analyzed the Blue Jackets forward group in the wake of the Rick Nash trade.

The good? Columbus has more depth up front than ever before.

The bad? Columbus only has three players that have scored 20 or more goals in a single season…

…and the NHL average is seven.

It’s something Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger referenced in speaking with Portzline.

“We have a lot of second-line players,” Umberger said. “It’s definitely going to be a new-look team. It’s a group that will have to work really hard and earn everything we get. All the players are guys who feel like they really need to prove something.”

Umberger is one of the three that’s scored 20 in a single season — he’s done it five times. The others are Brandon Dubinsky (twice) and Vinny Prospal (five). It’s not exactly an ideal setup for a Blue Jackets team that only averaged 2.42 goals per game last season (26th overall), but those issues should be offset by the fact Columbus has more forward depth than ever before.

Just ask head coach Todd Richards.

“I think it’s interchangeable parts,” Richards said of all his new potential line combinations. “That’s how I’m approaching it. It gives me great flexibility on the bench. If I want to switch and change to something else, a different look for a different situation in the game, I’ll be able to do that pretty easily.”

For what it’s worth, Portzline reports Richards liked the Prospal-Mark LetestuCam Atkinson line that often played together last year and that Umberger, Dubinsky, Derick Brassard, Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno “will figure into the mix in the top six.”

  1. mclovinhockey - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    a lot of 2nd liners…. no first liners… hope burger takes control of the team. Go UM

  2. mydadyourmom - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Two second line players tops. The rest should be third or fourth liners.

  3. biasedhomer - Jul 29, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I think a team like the BJs are actually better with more depth. Now all the pressure is not on 1 or 2 players.

  4. dutchman1350 - Jul 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Brassard will break 20 goals this year.

  5. tfaltin - Jul 30, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    There is some talent on that roster. There aren’t any game breakers, but there are players who could score any given night. Umberger, Dubinsky, Prospal, Anisimov, Brassard and Foligno all are “second line players” who could chip in 20 goals over a season. At least they have depth, I’d rather have that than a disgruntled superstar without support players. They aren’t going to be a team you can walk over. Their D is solid now, their forwards will grind, and if Bob can stop some pucks, they’ll win more games than most people expect.

  6. grlscout - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    This is one Rangers fan who WILL miss Dubinsky.

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