2014-15 NHL Metropolitan Division preview: Can the Columbus Blue Jackets capitalize on their successful 2013-2014 season?
COACH: Todd Richards
2013-2014 RECORD: 43-32-7, 93 points (fourth in Metropolitan, lost to Penguins in first round)
VITAL SIGNS: 2.8 goals per game (12th), 2.6 goals-against per game (13th); 19.3 power play pct. (11th); 82.1 penalty kill pct. (14th); shootout record: 5-2 (2nd)
NOTABLE ARRIVALS: LW Scott Hartnell
NOTABLE DEPARTURES: LW R.J. Umberger, LW Blake Comeau, C Derek MacKenzie,RW Jack Skille, D Nikita Nikitin, D Nick Schultz
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Boone Jenner (broken hand) — Ryan Johansen — Nathan Horton (back injury)
Scott Hartnell — Brandon Dubinsky — Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno — Artem Anisimov — Corey Tropp
Matt Calvert — Mark Letestu — Jared Boll
PLAYER TO WATCH: Ryan Johansen
All eyes in Columbus are on Johansen. After spurning the Blue Jackets’ offers over the summer, the 22 year-old will face a lot of pressure to improve on the 33-30-63 that he put up in 2013-14. Contract disputes can poison even the most tight-knit locker rooms, so it would serve him well to get this one over before it drags on much longer.
PREDICTION: 95 points (third in Metropolitan)