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Davidson believes Blue Jackets can ‘do some damage’ next season

Jul 19, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five Getty Images

Beyond trading R.J. Umberger for Scott Hartnell, it’s been a pretty quiet offseason for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That said, this is a team that won its first two postseason games in franchise history and made the Pittsburgh Penguins sweat before eventually advancing in six contests. That’s a promising building block for the future, yet Blue Jackets president of hockey operations believes that the addition of Hartnell, hopefully improved health from Nathan Horton and continued development will only mean even bigger things in 2014-15.

“To see the depth we have, not only with our team here but the youngsters coming, I think that getting Nathan in healthy is going to be a big boost for us,” Davidson said, via NHL.com. “It’s about knowing you have a chance to do some damage. This isn’t on a wing and a prayer anymore. This isn’t hoping [goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky] stops 55 shots. This is a team that has capabilities of winning at home, winning on the road, and doing some damage.”

Davidson discussed how much he likes everything about the fabric of this team, including how players stick up for each other.

Still, some might not think of much (except maybe professional wrestling?) when they hear the phrase “intestinal fortitude.” Fans looking for more concrete reasons to be excited about this Blue Jackets team would likely be pleased to find out that the team’s possession numbers improved as the season went along (chart via Extra Skater):

source:

Maybe that’s a sign that the team’s young players improved after they got their feet wet. Perhaps it could be chalked up to a changing approach from their coach staff. It may very well be a combination of those two (and other) factors.

Either way, the numbers back up Davidson’s feelings, so the Blue Jackets could indeed be a team to watch in 2014-15.

Here are both parts of Davidson’s interview regarding his team, in case you’re interested:

  1. lowenni - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    I definitely think they can, I’m excited for the Jackets. They’ve got a real solid mix of veterans and up and coming youngsters, combined with a great goalie, that I think will put them back in the playoffs next year. They’ve got a rising superstar in Ryan Johansen, solid vets like Nathan Horton, Hartnell, and Dubinsky (who I think is awesome and should be captain next season), up and coming young forwards like Boone Jenner and Kerby Rychel, along with a young stud on defense in Ryan Murray. Defenseman James Wisnewski also had a career revival last season and put up 51 points, which not a lot of people noticed. I think the Jackets will make the playoffs and could even surprise a higher-seeded team, although competition I think will be tougher than last year with improved Devils, Caps, and Panthers squads. Should be a fun year in Lumbus, however.

  2. bleedrangerblue - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    How do you know those 3 teams are improved?

    • lowenni - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      The Caps added a ton of veteran experience on the blueline in Brooks Orpik in addition to a two-way defenseman in Matt Niskanen. While I’m not saying those are the best defenseman in the game, a top-6 D core of Alzner-Carlson Orlov-Niskanen and Orpik-Green is a hell of a lot better than when we had John Erskine and Connor Carrick on our third pair. That’s an improvement. There’s also a full season of a potentially elite forward in Evgeny Kuznetsov plus possibly another top-6 forward in Andre Burakovsky makes the team, which it looks like he will. That’s good depth, and there’s always Ovechkin and Backstrom. The Devils added Mike Cammalleri who can score 30 goals for them plus if Martin Havlat is healthy he could be a solid producer for them as well. I expect Adam Henrique to rebound and for Travis Zajac to have a big year surrounded by higher caliber forwards, on a line with Jagr as well. The Panthers added a ton of pieces and I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they made a playoff push–they have a good top-6 defense led by Campbell and vets like Willie Mitchell with a solid mix of talented youngsters in Ekblad, Kulikov, and Gubrandson. They also added Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland who can both provide 40+ points and leadership. If Huberdeau and Barkov grow as well, then there’s a lot of potential for that team. So yes, while not all 3 of those teams will make the playoffs, the rosters did improve.

      • flyboystransport - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        Niskkanen was over paid, orpik is a #5d, Florida may improve but it depends on the younger players development and the Devils improved offensively but lost grit and defensive play

  3. chief361 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    it’s good to see this team making some noise after being one of the doormats of the league for so long. here’s to hoping they keep progressing.

  4. quinner17 - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    Blue Jackets will be a team that the rest of the East will want to avoid

  5. 34defense2014 - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Looks like old man Davidson is going to pop!! Wow lol lol

  6. 34defense2014 - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    What is that? John Davidson’s EKG?? Look at him! lol lol only a Rag!!

  7. mizzike20 - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    How exactly did the Devils get worse defensively? Last I checked Brodeur and his .901 save percentage is gone and Anton Volchenkov was bought out. All we need is Bryce Salvador to retire and this team could win ten more games from last year and that’s before Cammelleri was signed

  8. bleedrangerblue - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    On paper.

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