Over the next few days, I will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
Chutes: Sergei Bobrovsky – There was no reasonable expectation based on past play for the season Bobrovsky just had. His play was outstanding and it resulted in a Vezina Trophy. Is it a case of a one year wonder, or can he repeat the feat that almost resulted in him single-handedly carrying the Blue Jackets to the post-season? I am guessing not.
Ladders: Marian Gaborik – After escaping the spotlight of Broadway, Gaborik had a nice introduction to Columbus. He is now entering a contract year, and with probably one big money contract left in his career, he will have a lot to prove this season. His stay in New York wasn’t all bad, it was just incredibly inconsistent. He will eventually have some support on the right side in newly acquired Nathan Horton, unless the Blue Jackets move one of them to the left side and play them together when Horton returns from his shoulder surgery. Either way, look for a big improvement from Gaborik.