Columbus Blue Jackets: The Addition Of The Bread Man Make Them Ready For The Stanley Cup
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot of hype going into the 2017-18 NHL season. The addition of Artemi Panarin, or “Bread Man” as he’s known as, has gotten a lot of eyes on the team, as they look to improve upon last year’s historic season. But who’s going to make up this year’s roster? And what will the Jackets have to do in order to advance past the first round of the NHL playoffs?
With Brandon Saad gone, the Blue Jackets are now giving Artemi Panarin the keys to the offense. Already settled into a role on the first line, he’s going to be the glue of the team’s offensive attack. More than likely the Breadman will be situated with promising youngster Alexander Wennberg (59 pts last season), and Cam Atkinson (35 goals last season) to form one of the league’s most devastating trios.
As Panarin gets acclimated to the Blue Jackets, team Captain, Nick Foligno, will look to improve upon last year’s 51 point season. He’ll be joined in the lineup by newcomers Oliver Bjorkstrand and Sonny Milano. Brandon Dubinsky will also bring his veteran leadership to the team. Boone Jenner, who is currently dealing with an injury, will try and bounce back from a disappointing 2016-17 campaign.
The Jackets defense might be its biggest strength. Seth Jones and Zach Werenski are two of the NHL’s best young D-Men. The duo combined for 89 points last year, making them one of the top pairings in all of hockey. They will be joined by veteran Jack Johnson who will provide leadership on the defensive core. In addition, former top-three pick, Ryan Murray, will be out to prove he’s not a bust, but the ship may have sailed on that.
Sergei Bobrovsky is a Vezina winning goalie. He’s one of the league’s best. There’s no need to go on to detail about this. With him in the lineup, Columbus is a better team. Joonas Korpisalo will be the main back-up to Bob.
The big question for Columbus Blue Jackets is, “Can the power play continue to be the X-factor for this team.” Last season, the Blue Jackets were one of the league’s strongest units. They finished 12th last season with the man advantage. It’s somewhat disappointing considering they led the NHL at one point. Still, adding Panarin to an already dangerous core of Werenski, Atkinson, Foligno, and Wennberg (who at one time led the NHL in PP points), will improve the team strength a lot.
That’s the type of production the Columbus Blue Jackets are capable of. And if they bring that same desire and intensity as they had the first half of last year, they’ll find themselves sitting pretty in the Metro Division. And a Stanley Cup berth isn’t out of the realm of possibility either.Follow @DGentleman9288