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Are the Blue Jackets a better team without Rick Nash?

Aug 13, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

Jack Johnson, James Wisniewski AP

When next season starts (whenever that may be) it’ll be the first time since 2002-03 the Blue Jackets will do so without Rick Nash.

With Nash now in New York with the Rangers after a long-awaited trade, it’ll be up to Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, and Tim Erixon to help Jackets fans forget about their former superstar.

Can they do it successfully though? All isn’t quite as bleak as you’d think.

Columbus’ other top scorers last season were veterans Vinny Prospal, who had just five fewer points than Nash, Derick Brassard and R.J. Umberger. The latter two had just 41 and 40 points respectively but when you throw Dubinsky and Anisimov into the mix, their 36 and 34 points can at least, in theory, help make up for Nash’s departure.

When you add them to an interesting mix of players that includes former Senator Nick Foligno as well as potential future star Ryan Johansen and spark plug winger Cam Atkinson, there’s some hope there.

Atkinson was a big scorer at Boston College and did well in the AHL last season, meanwhile Johansen was coddled last season and could breakout if given the minutes to show what he’s got. Keeping him buried on the fourth or in the press box line doesn’t do him any favors.

These aren’t superstar players nor do they have the marquee credibility, but if coach Todd Richards can get them playing together as a team, there’s opportunity for growth. After all, it’s not as if the Central Division got better this offseason.

  1. charleslouis99 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    it really looks like they’re moving towards being a defensive first team

    • Joe Yerdon - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      They kind of need to be with Mason/Bobrovsky in goal. That said, the goals have to come from somewhere though. Spreading around the love will be the way now.

      • charleslouis99 - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        They’ve taken a page from the book of my blues lol jk if they get a better coach then they will be a lot better I honestly am rooting for Mason he needs to put it together I watch Every blues game and its always a pain to watch the jackets just because of their lack of talent and the way howson has run the team in the ground I hope for the best just move to the eastern conference soon lol I like Ohio teams but they’re like the Houston astros you feel sorry for them and root for them to beat up on the rest of the division at key points in the season

  2. purpleguy - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I think the more accurate question is if anyone really cares?

    • hockeyfan1701 - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I care and so do a lot of people who live here. Just because they are not your hometown team does not mean people do not support them. The CBJ had an average of 17,587 fans per home game. 12th in the league. Yes, they sucked and it was painful to watch, and Yes Howson is an a**clown, but my friend so are you.

      • ecmar2000 - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        When did they have an avg of 17,587 and when were they 12th in the NHL in avg. attendance? In the very beggining?

        ‘Yes’ that’s true if that’s the time period (2000-2001 to 2003-2004) you are referring to but not lately – 27th in the league in avg. attendance and 14,660/game avg http://espn.go.com/nhl/attendance

        And, if you’re aware as to how managment is “puffing” the numbers – see Carolina, FLA and NYI home dates – they’re using tickets sold, NOT actual attendance – those numbers are even worse.

        But you’re right in stating that folks do care – and damn ownership and mgmt for spitting in the face of those fans and their utter lack of respect to their customers. If only they were given 1/1 millionth of what they’ve given this clown show (ownership and mgmt)

        Much like the Pittsburgh Pirates, prior to this season: “Great venue, s#itty team”

        Sorry, I just wanted to clarify your attendance numbers

      • polegojim - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        @hockeyfan… that’s my biggest ‘pain’ – fans who care but consistently not rewarded for it.

        Hey… I lived through the Lions and Matt Millen, I CAN relate…

        No way they can be ‘better’ without Nash… but having the drama ended will help.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    @purpleguys I can understand u don’t like the jackets but honestly keep your mouth shut and why are you even reading this story?

  4. muir6 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    No

  5. ct14flyers - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Well they couldn’t be much worse.

  6. broadstbully33 - Aug 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    they will play tamba bay hockey minus stamkos 1-4 trap hockey

  7. jacketsfan7 - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I agree with you on the 1-4 type style

  8. comeonnowguys - Aug 13, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Another step back toward Dead Puck. If you can’t beat them will skill, trap them until they, the crowd, the tv crew and anyone else watching falls asleep.

    • bbk1000 - Aug 13, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Worked for the Devils….

      • comeonnowguys - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM

        Doesn’t mean it would be good for today.

      • bbk1000 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:20 AM

        When you reach the playoffs once in your history. anything else is worth a try.

  9. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Hey I like the pirates

  10. contraryguy - Aug 13, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    The Blue Jackets can be a better team with ONE thing: an honest-to-god #1 goaltender. That’s all they need. Take away a few fractions of a goal per game, take away the last-60-second-of-the-period scores, and the CBJ are no longer the worst team in the league. Can Bobrovsky manage that? Certainly hope so. If Mason is given anything more than one start a week, one with an extremely short leash, and he doesn’t put up a shutout or two, he will be run out of town with torches and pitchforks.

  11. stakex - Aug 13, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    While I think its fair to say that Columbus can’t be much worse without Nash, I don’t see how trading your best player for limited return would ever make you better.

  12. budvw14 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    If Dubinsky can regain his 2010-11 form he could easily top 50. Anisimov is an enigmatic European player with a ton of physical ability. Played pretty well on a line with Gaborik and Stepan. Dubinsky brings it every night a will be a fan favorite based on heart alone. They’ll have to grind out points but the potential is definitely there.

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