Apr 25, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie (24) shoots the puck in the Dallas Stars zone during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blue Jackets defeated the Stars 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2013-14 Season Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets

LAST SEASON

Regular Season: The Blue Jackets played meaningful games right down to the last weekend of the season for the first time since they made the playoffs the last (and only) time, in 2008-09.  They had a major award winner as Sergei Bobrovsky took home the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goaltender.

Playoffs:  Alas, their run at a playoff spot fell short, as they lost a tiebreaker to the Wild for the 8th playoff spot.

 

CHANGES

Out:  F Vinny Prospal, F Colton Gillies, D Adrian Aucoin, G Michael Leighton

In:  F Nathan Horton, F Jack Skille, G Curtis McElhinny

Ready To Make The Jump:  D Ryan Murray

 

 

BIG 3 FACTORS

1.  Bring The Bob:  Was Sergei Bobrovsky’s tremendous season a fluke or is he for real?  He was THE major reason why the Blue Jackets were a factor down the stretch, and if he slides at all, Columbus is back to square 1.

2.  The Forgotten Man:  2nd overall pick in 2012, Ryan Murray would have been an NHL last season, if not for the shoulder injury he suffered while playing in junior in the lockout. He wasn’t top of mind last season, but if his recovery is complete he should be a factor on the Jackets’ blue line.

3.  Fewer Frequent Flier Miles:  The shift to the Eastern Conference will dramatically reduce the travel strains on the club, and they find themselves in the shallower of the two Eastern Divisions.

 

PROGNOSIS:  The Blue Jackets rely a whole lot on goaltending, and Bobrovsky wouldn’t be the first 1 year wonder (even for the Blue Jackets – hello Steve Mason).  They made a good run down the stretch, but will Horton and Murray provide enough to get them over the top?

PREDICTION: 7th Metropolitan Division.

 

We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th.  As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings.  Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):

Predicted Finish Atlantic Metropolitan Central Pacific
1 Sept 9 Sept 8 Sept 7 Sept 6
2 Sept 5 Sept 4 Sept 3 Sept 2
3 Sept 1 Aug 31 Aug 30 Aug 29
4 Aug 28 Aug 27 Aug 26 Aug 25
5 Aug 24 Aug 23 Aug 22 Aug 21
6 Aug 20 Aug 19 Aug 18 Aug 17
7 Aug 16 Blue Jackets Stars Flames
8 Panthers Devils

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Tags: 2013-14 Season Preview Columbus Blue Jackets Nathan Horton Ryan Murray Sergei Bobrovsky

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