Roster Review

CBJ Goalie Depth could be a focus this offseason

Posted by CBJProspects on March 23, 2014
Contracts, Prospects, Roster Review / 1 Comment

Late last week the Jackets announced the signing of 2012 3rd round draft pick Joonas Korpisalo. This is a bit of a surprise as Korpisalo had a up and down season that included missing time with injury. This signing also got the little hamster wheel in my head spinning because the Jackets goalie depth will be an interesting development this summer. I say this because after the top cop in Columbus, the Jackets only have two goalies under contract for next season whose only experience on North American size rinks is in international competition. Those two are Anton Forsberg who could see a game in Springfield before the playoffs and the just signed Korpisalo. Columbus backup Curtis McElhinney and Springfield 20 game winner (so far) Mike McKenna are unrestricted free agents while Jeremy Smith is a restricted free agent.

I and others originally thought Smith would push McKenna and earn an extension to serve as a mentor to either Forsberg or Oscar Dansk who, as of this writing, is still unsigned. I was surprised that Korpisalo was signed before Dansk but Korpisalo’s season ended before Oscar’s. I don’t see McElhinney being brought back and that means the CBJ will be going after a backup either by trade or signing a UFA.

Continue reading…

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The 12.19% Solution

Posted by Staff on October 27, 2013
Columbus Blue Jackets, Roster Review, Stats, Team Discussion / 1 Comment

Blue Jackets Cannon LogoBefore digging into the substance of the post, I must provide an apology.  As many of you know, we just returned from a two-week vacation to Maine, Nova Scotia, PEI and Quebec.  (Articles forthcoming during lulls in the hockey action). The down side of the vacation was that we missed the start of the season, and in our absence, the Blue Jackets posted a 2-5 record.  Since our return last Saturday, they are 3 – 0.  Just sayin’.   Anyway, notwithstanding any dubious claims of causation, I promise to never again allow vacation to interfere with hockey.  Mea culpa . . .

Let’s turn to the matters at hand.  The Blue Jackets now have 10 games under their collective belts, which equals 12.19% of the season.  Instead of relying on Twitter summaries or online post-mortems of the games — as we were compelled to do on the cruise — I’ve seen the live, in-person product on the ice for three games.  Combined with some statistical review, I’ve got all I need to provide a first review of the good and the bad, and some indications of what might be forthcoming.

The Basics

As of Sunday morning, the Blue Jackets are 5-5-0, with 10 points, but working on a three-game winning streak.  The record might not be what some had hoped for, but represents a significant improvement over the 3-6-1 start last year, and light-years ahead of the 1-8-1 start in 2011-2012.  More importantly, the club was able to shrug off a miserable four-game losing streak and post truly solid efforts against Vancouver, New Jersey and Toronto.

Continue reading…

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Blue Jackets Free Agency Preview

Posted by The Coach on July 04, 2013
Contracts, Roster Review, Roster Talk, Team Discussion / 6 Comments

This free agency preview is going to be a little different than I had planned on. I started out with the intention of putting together a lineup of the currently signed Blue Jackets players, where they fit in the lineup, and where holes still remained. The problem is that the Blue Jackets have such a versatile lineup, and enough prospects on the cusp of the NHL, that you can very easily put together a very solid looking lineup without adding a single player via UFA or trade. For example:


Nick Foligno – Artem Anisimov – Marian Gaborik

RJ Umberger – Ryan Johansen – Brandon Dubinsky

Matt Calvert – Boone Jenner – Cam Atkinson

Blake Comeau – Mark Letestu – Jared Boll

Derek MacKenzie


Fedor Tyutin – Jack Johnson

Ryan Murray – James Wisniewski

Tim Erixon – Dalton Prout

Nikita Nikitin


Sergei Bobrovsky – Curtis McElhinney

Not too shabby, eh? I think that is roster that has the potential to compete for a playoff spot in the newly designed Eastern Conference Division D (really hoping they come up with a better name than that). But that lineup does a few things I don’t think JD and Jarmo really want to do. It puts Murray and Jenner right into the NHL, something JD has only done once in St. Louis (David Perron). Usually he signs depth veterans, uses the youngsters as call-ups and makes them force their way onto the team (then flips the vets for picks later). It also has a number of players playing at a spot in their lineup that is probably above their heads. Continue reading…

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Second Half Expectations – Looking Back to Look Forward

Posted by The Coach on March 09, 2013
Columbus Blue Jackets, Roster Review / 2 Comments

We’re officially at the halfway point, so I thought I would take a look back at my preseason individual goal predictions, the team predictions, and what to expect moving forward. First things first, lets start off with the team totals. My predictions had them finishing with a +2 goal differential over 82 games (or about +1 for 48 games), if they could raise their team save percentage from .903 to .910. Unfortunately, they are currently sitting at a -15 goal differential. The problem here hasn’t been just scoring or defense. I had them at 64 goals through 24 games and they are only 9 goals below that. On the defensive side, improvement was dependent upon raising the save percentage from .903 to .910, but it has actually dropped to .902. A jump to .910 would have reduced the first half goals against by 8. Aside from the predictions, the team has greatly improved so far this season. With league average shooting percentage and save percentage, the Jackets would be at a -6 goal differential (based on 60 goals for and 66 goals against). The Blue Jackets -60 full season goal differential from last year equates to a -17 over 24 games. For some perspective a -6 goal differential would tie them with Nashville, while a -17 would tie them with Edmonton.

Continue reading…

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Blue Jackets Off-Season Game Plan

Posted by The Coach on June 03, 2012
Contracts, Draft, General Manager, Roster Review, Roster Talk / 10 Comments

Rick Nash. The second overall pick. Goaltending. Defensive defenseman. Top six forwards. What do all of these have in common? I have talked about them ad nauseam over the last couple months. They all represent something that will change from the current incarnation of the Blue Jackets, to the team who takes the ice opening night. I’ve probably discussed hundreds of versions of the Nash trade; I’ve written two mock drafts; talked endlessly about Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko, et al; I’ve reviewed every UFA goaltenders statistics dozens of times; and spent far too many hours playing with the Cap Calculator. So I thought I would take all that time and make it useful. I put together the moves I would make if I was running the Blue Jackets, including the Nash trade, who I would take in the draft, what free agents I would sign, and one more surprise trade that I like and I imagine every other Jackets fan will hate.

Continue reading…

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Special Teams Scoring Chance Rates

A few weeks ago I posted my breakdown of the Blue Jackets scoring chances at even strength . Since that article has gone up I’ve spent far too much time working through the data for special teams. The results are not exactly what I was expecting and I am not entirely sure what to make of it. The effectiveness of Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu on the powerplay perplexed me. The ineffectiveness of Jack Johnson, RJ Umberger and James Wisniewski perplexed me more. The differing rates of scoring chances between Jackets powerplays and opponent powerplays put a wrench into comparisons. To combat some of these issues, I took a look at the rate at which scoring chances were converted while these players were on the ice. This painted a better picture of what players contributed to generating chances, as well as what players generated fewer chances but converted more of those chances to goals. Further, this analysis applied to shorthanded scoring chances was similarly illuminating.  Again, many thanks to the awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon for compiling the full breakdown of the Jackets scoring chances.  Continue reading…

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Even Strength Scoring Chance Rates

Posted by The Coach on May 06, 2012
Columbus Blue Jackets, Roster Review / 3 Comments

The awesome Matt Wagner at The Cannon wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago with the full breakdown on the leaders in scoring chances for and against for the 2011-23 Blue Jackets. While a fantastic piece that required a tremendous amount of work by Mr. Wagner, I thought I would take his statistics one step further. I took Matt’s gross scoring chance statistics and turned them into rates by dividing the scoring chances by the amount of time on ice that player had. This produced a per 60 minute rate for every player who wore a CBJ jersey this season. This produced a wealth of information, far too much for one post. So in this one I will break down the scoring chances rates at even strength for every player who played over 20 games for the Jackets this season. This ruled out Kris Russell, Matt Calvert, Cody Bass, Radek Martinek, Maksim Mayorov, Tomas Kubalik, Alexandre Giroux, Dane Byers, Dalton Prout, Kristian Huselius, Andrew Joudrey and Cody Goloubef. These players did not play enough to gather enough information to be meaningful. Ideally, I would have set the bar higher but that would have ruled out the player I was most interested in getting a handle on: Jack Johnson. Continue reading…

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CBJ Roster Review – 12/12

Posted by Canadan82 on December 12, 2011
Roster Review / No Comments

In this (hopefully) weekly review, I am going to provide the entire roster and make some comments regarding their efforts, either overall for the year, or in the past week.  If roster rankings work out in the near future, I may include them as well, in a sort of depth chart quality meter.  Bear in mind there will more than likely be some honesty, some overreacting, and plenty of ‘snark’ (as a few of my twitter buddies would call it).  So let’s begin:

Boll :: I wish I had some good things to say about Boller, but he’s been beat up pretty good in his last couple of fights and hasn’t shown much on the ice. Starting to wonder how really valuable a heavy-ish weight fighter is in this league anymore.

Brassard :: Despite all the off ice conversation, Brassard has made a point of returning to the lineup and being relevant.  An assist, +2, and 10 shots on goal in his three games back. He’s also been functioning well in the top 6 and on the powerplay.

Carter :: Scoring goals, finally! One in each of his last two games, and creating with Nash.  I have a feeling it won’t be long before we really start to see him connecting with Nash on a regular basis.

Clitsome :: The highs and the lows for this guy are pretty substantial.  Between making bonehead plays and taking solid shots, I can’t decide what to make of the kid.  I wish he’d go back to the prospect and not the guy who thinks he’s got it made.

Dekanich :: His twitter isn’t even fun anymore.

Dorsett :: Dorsett for captain? I kid, seriously, but wow what a difference he has been for the club this year.  Solid breakaway goals against Edmonton and Nashville (can you say snipe city, on Rinne?!) with an almost goal against Boston that you’d expect more out of Nash.. Shame he has an injury, but optimism suggests he’ll be back sooner rather than later.

Huselius :: President of the bandaid club (bolded for effect). He was relevant for a whopping game and a half or so, before succumbing to a groin injury that will leave him off the ice for weeks, not days. I am getting really tired of his brittle mediocrity.

Johansen :: I’m still big on the kid, but I hope the woes of Columbus don’t stunt his success and development as a hockey player.  I do think playing with Vermette and Brassard has been a positive change for him, as they are both speedy players who see the ice well.

Johnson :: Healthy scratch. Pretty please.

Letestu :: Gotta give the kid credit, going from worst to relevant between Pittsburgh and Columbus has been fun to watch. That said, he’ll have to work hard to find his place in the lineup if players like RJ and Vermette begin to find their form, not to mention Brassard actually getting to play and Huselius testing the healthy waters.

MacKenzie :: DMac has been a monster in +/- although kudos to not playing in the top six (and recently not even in the top line) leaving usually weaker players to compete against.  That said, the bottom three is where he can be most relevant for this team, so I think it’s great.

Martinek :: In the bandaid club.  I am fairly certain half the fan base forgot about him.

Mason :: Snoozing for twelve straight games may mess with someone. Here’s hoping it just drove Mase to be better. All suggesting he may see time against Vancouver.

Methot :: A perfect example of a player meeting the expectations of the team and answering the call. Stepping in to play on Wisniewski’s line and doing a great job, albeit probably a line above where he should be lining up.

Moore :: Not all that much to say, although I feel like he has done a decent job when given the opportunity. Certainly a better option than Johnson, who belongs in the AHL.  I still have high hopes that Moore can become more and more relevant, and I hope he can find someone on the team to mentor him.

Nash :: Flashes of greatness against Nashville drawing penalties and deking through players as though they don’t even know whether they are right or left handed.  This is the Nash I demand on a nightly basis. A truly entertaining player when he feels like being one.  That said, hard to ignore the -15 that is plaguing him.

Nikitin :: A tremendous pickup for the Jackets, in what seemed to be fairly irrelevant 7th D-man for 7th D-man at the time.  He’s answered the call and made Tyutin slightly less of a defensive liability, which is saying a lot.

Pahlsson :: Moron penalty leading to the game tying goal in Nashville and right out again in the overtime… Arniel may not blame him for it, but he’s on my list after that idiot decision.

Prospal :: Dude is a fireball. I have a feeling when management brought in Clark and Moreau, they were hoping for even half the veteran presence Vinny P has had. This team seems to feed off him. (this hasn’t changed. I still love what Prospal is bringing to the team)

Sanford :: The Sandman.  It’s hard to not be impressed with how well he has shouldered the brunt of a failing season and given fans hope with his quality positioning, although the success has slowly settled with him struggling in a few recent games.  Regardless of where he goes from here, he has done more than I could have expected out of him already.

Tyutin :: I’ve tried to be patient, but I do not see Tyuts even coming close to earning his fresh contract. He has a bomb of a shot, but he has no capacity to keep it low and on net. In fact, I bet more than 70% of his shots are chest high (or higher) and wide of the net. That’s not how a defenseman should shoot at all.

Umberger :: Some life for RJ! Two high quality goals (with defensemen draped on his back of course) in his last three games and he’s been plenty relevant.  It’s about time!

Vermette :: Watching Vermette with Johansen and Brassard has been a very positive change in my opinion.  While he’s only managed one goal during that stretch, the line itself has looked strong and his capacity at center especially in the faceoff circle is strong. Looking forward to seeing what some chemistry will bring for him and his new linemates.

Wisniewski :: Brutal. At least for his contract brutal.  Terrible decisions on the pass, shots and refuse to hit the net, and no real solutions to the mistakes.  Tied with Nash (and it’s not even close) at -15, problems need solutions and he needs to be one of the front runners.

Homestands are great, but some tough competition lies ahead!  Hopefully the next few games find the Jackets on the right end of third period success.

Carry the Flag!

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CBJ Roster Review 10/31

Posted by Canadan82 on October 31, 2011
Roster Review / 2 Comments

In this (hopefully) weekly review, I am going to provide the entire roster and make some comments regarding their efforts, either overall for the year, or in the past week.  If roster rankings work out in the near future, I may include them as well, in a sort of depth chart quality meter.  Bear in mind there will more than likely be some honesty, some overreacting, and plenty of ‘snark’ (as a few of my twitter buddies would call it).  So let’s begin:

Bass :: Well done for him to take Getzlaf out of the game for 5+ minutes last night.. Too bad all he really did was hug the guy for a minute or so..

Boll :: In the bandaid club. Still not convinced that him being healthy makes a difference as to whether he rides out the year in the press box (for the most part) thanks to the depth of this club.

Brassard :: Brassard continues to make his presence relevant in the Jackets top six and when Carter gets healthy, could make Arniel really fumble over who should man the top two center spots.

Calvert :: He’s been decent, but not much to say in terms of a weekly review.  I am happy to see his return to Columbus, but I miss the crazy speed and tenacity we saw at the end of last year.

Carter :: In the bandaid club.  I have to think his time there is limited now, and I really expect him to make a strong impact upon his return, especially with Nash and Prospal.

Clitsome :: (and I repeat…) Awesome names don’t hide well behind terrible defensive errors. With a healthy Methot/Martinek, maybe his slide down the defensive depth chart will find him in a slot less overwhelming.

Dekanich :: In the bandaid club. Sounds like he’s getting close though, so the Jackets can finally have a legit backup to rely on beyond their 4th string and a junior player.

Dorsett :: Gotta love him trying to deke out Ellis last night, although he had the shelf wide open.  I have a feeling he won’t be getting a Christmas card from Brookbank.

Giroux :: He’s a top six forward… If you’re watching one on video review at about 75% speed.  I like his tenacity but it just doesn’t translate well to the pace of the NHL.

Huselius :: President of the bandaid club. I wonder if when he actually does come back, how out of place he’ll look. Then again, maybe he’ll find some great chemistry and go on a tear. (wishful thinking)

Johansen :: Two goals, two game winners. I think it’s pretty safe to say he has earned the right to stick around.  Juniors has nothing left to teach this kid.

Johnson :: I don’t think there’s enough snark in this world for me to describe how underwhelmed I am by Johnson. Slow on the puck and his decision making. Demotion coming soon, I surely hope.

MacKenzie :: It exhausts me that he’s getting top line minutes, although watching him fly by Nash on a forecheck was pretty comical.. Maybe he’s helping to light a fire where it so badly needs to be lit.

Martinek :: In the bandaid club.

Mason :: I think the term “steal a game” was taken to heart. Absolutely money against Detroit and Anaheim.  Welcome back Mase.

Methot :: In the bandaid club.. but for good reason. Hope he recovers quickly.

Nash :: Last night may have been his most relevant game of the year.  I’ll say it 100 times, when Nash wants to or feels like succeeding on the ice, it is nothing short of spectacular to watch.

Pahlsson :: Reasonably solid without the puck, but certainly suspect with it. Making a strong case as Columbus’ 4th line center.

Prospal :: Dude is a fireball. I have a feeling when management brought in Clark and Moreau, they were hoping for even half the veteran presence Vinny P has had. This team seems to feed off him.

Russell :: His defensive partner isn’t doing him any favours, but I’m still up on this guy.  Loved the Cogliano fight, and he didn’t even look out of place.  That said, I would like to see his decision making with the puck speed up a bit.

Tyutin :: Glad I waited to judge this guy. HUGELY positive results now that Wiz is back in the lineup.  Physical off the puck, solid defensively, and slowly starting to lower his point shot.  Love what he is doing right now.

Umberger :: Scored his first goal this week but I am still pretty underwhelmed.  I think he’s got a lot more to offer than what we’re seeing, and I have a feeling it might take him being on the third line to see it.

Vermette :: Has been better, but has also watched as Brassard vaulted him in terms of relevance.  Still strong on the draws, but his speedy creative play has definitely been missed, and the blind, overly creative passes are getting tired.

Wisniewski :: Huge.  Beneficial in both on ice optimism and confidence. When Wiz has the puck, success in terms of offense seems to be highly likely.  More to come on this I am sure.

Toronto and Philadelphia are on the schedule this week, which should make for a couple of unique battles for the Blue Jackets. I was tremendously pleased with the number of people who attended Sunday’s game against Anaheim and I will be back in attendance Thursday against Toronto!  Here’s hoping the optimism and heart we saw on ice for the Jackets yesterday will carry over.

Carry the Flag!

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