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It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day on PHT

Aug 26, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Brandon Dubinsky Getty Images

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets looked lost just a couple years ago. They finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 29-46-7 record and were forced to trade Rick Nash in July 2012 because he could no longer stand to play for the Blue Jackets.

After the trade, Columbus was written off as one of the worst teams in the league and the franchise’s first playoff win still looked like a distant goal. Then the Blue Jackets’ defense clicked and Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy. Although they finished a hair from making the 2013 postseason due to their 5-12-4 start, the tone had changed.

But was that a fluke? Could Bobrovsky live up to his breakout performance? The Blue Jackets’ hot finish only added to the questions surrounding them going into the 2013-14 campaign. They answered by squeaking into the playoffs in 2014 and not only earning their first postseason win, but also making the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins sweat in the six-game first round series.

Following that accomplishment, the Blue Jackets decided to keep their roster relatively intact. One notable exception was the trade of R.J. Umberger and a 2015 fourth round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Scott Hartnell.

Beyond that, they’re hoping to get a full season out of Nathan Horton after he started the 2013-14 campaign on the sidelines due to a shoulder injury and wasn’t able to stay healthy once he did come back.

The Blue Jackets also inked Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year, $35.1 million contract extension this summer. They aren’t done yet though as 33-goal scorer Ryan Johansen remains a restricted free agent.

  1. rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    One of the more interesting clubs to follow. I’m starting to like Davidson’s body of work (up to now…I’d like to get some more details about the stand-off with Johansen)

    • thefranchise777 - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      According to the local news here, they are roughly $3 million per season apart, with the Jackets offering roughly $3.5-$4 mill per year and RJ looking for $7. I personally think the fair number, in light of Duby and Bob’s contracts, is around $5.5 for a bridge deal. No way has Johanson shown enough to command $7 mill, and $4 mill undervalues his contributions in comparison to other teammates.

      • pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        RFA negotiations get standoff-y all the time. Johansen may even wind up holding out of camp for a day or two, but Jarmo and JD know what they are doing, and I trust that they will get him signed. Everyone knows that Johansen is the future of the franchise, and the management won’t jeopardize that.

  2. charastein - Aug 26, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Hopefully Horton is back to feeling healthy. He’s pretty expensive for a guy that hasn’t played much.

  3. stepanup - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    This team was a tough out last year, and will only be better this season because their youth, and they have a lot of it in Calvert, Johansen, Atkinson, Murray, and Jenner, will only get better. Horton will be healthy up front, and they maintained their hard to play against identity by retaining Dubinsky and adding Hartnell. If I were a Columbus fan I’d be excited, to beat them, you’re going to have to work and execute.

    • lilgurgi - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Hartnell will help the offense (especially the PP), but beware the turnovers and silly minor penalties. I was a fan of his while he was with the Flyers, but he did drive us nutty with his play when he was not “on” that night.

      • pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        I am excited to see Hartnell play. I know he is known for giving away the puck at times, but he can’t be any worse than Umberger.

  4. withseidelinn - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    I think that Horton contract will start to haunt them. Money isn’t bad, but just too damn long. If they can get Johansen signed for a reasonable number I like this team going forward.

    • pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      They’ll have Horton until he is 35, and Hartnell until he is 37, totaling just over $10 mil a year. That is a lot for aging players, but considering that Columbus has the second most cap space in the league I think they’ll be okay.

  5. i1theinternet - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    This Johansen thing is going to tank them early. By the time they wise up and sign him, they’ll be too far behind the pack to catch up. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

    • rbbbaron - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Signing the kid to a long-term deal @ 7mil per season would be wisening up? He’s obviously got potential but, in the context of a 4+yr deal do you think he’s worth significantly more than Tavares at this point? They’re a small market team with a cap structure in place…

    • pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      You’re not much of a sports guy are you i1theinternet? RFA negotiations get sketchy every year all across the league, and rarely does it end up having a negative impact on the team. I certainly don’t think you have any reason to tell John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen that they need to “wise up.” It is clear that they know more than you.

  6. pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    The CBJ’s top six is looking pretty solid with Hartnell-Johansen-Horton, and Foligno-Dubinsky-Jenner, but where their real strength lies is in their depth. They will be able to get quality scoring out of their third line with Calvert and Atkinson, and lots of energy and a few goals out of their fourth. They are ridiculously deep on defense so they will be fine when the inevitable injuries occur. The only area that worries me is their goal tending after Bobrovsky. He can’t start all 82 games.

    • scruffnutz89 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      your top 6 is horrible… you should never break up Calvert-Dubinsky-Atkinson. Those three play Wonderful together. Foligno and Jenner are not a top six, not yet back six at best.

  7. pwisch - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    The most exciting thing about this club is that their farm system is loaded. Not only will they be competitive and continue to make the playoffs in the near future, but long-term they are built to be contenders as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Columbus makes a run at the Cup in the next 5 years.

  8. letsgocaps88 - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:06 PM

    Started watching this club more after they traded nash, Very entertaining product on the ice. I can say the same for dallas in recent years.

  9. blomfeld - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    MAY GOD BLESS THIS FRANCHISE WHICH NO DOUBT ‘MEANS’ WELL …

    “these rustics are so inept … it almost takes the honor out of victory”

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