I had the majority of a post put together for an offseason game plan post featuring all the moves I wanted to see the Jackets make. I’d figured out reasonable cap hits for the guys I wanted to be signed, figured out a nice trade or two that made sense, and wrote a nice long paragraph about how no one in their right mind would deal anything of value for RJ Umberger. Then it all got blown to hell. It came out that Jason Spezza had Columbus on his no trade list (I had him as a trade target), Nikita Nikitin was dealt to the Oilers, and Umberger was somehow traded for Scott Hartnell. In my opinion, those moves took care of a lot of what the Jackets needed to do this offseason. So instead of a post detailing everything I wanted to see, I figured I’d hit everything that has happened so far, and what I want to see happen the rest of the offseason. Continue reading…
How do, all! As you know, I’ve been saying that the CBJ should focus on their defensive prospect depth in this year’s draft despite the fact that, from what I’ve gathered, the best player available in the first round will more than likely be a forward. As I pointed out in my preview, the CBJ have used 16 of their last 19 picks on forwards or goalies including six of last year’s seven picks (all six being forwards) with four of those picks being among the teams top prospects. But more importantly, I say this because of the organization’s overall lack of depth at the position.
At the conclusion of the 2013 Columbus Blue Jackets season, the Union Blue team handed out awards to Blue Jackets players mirroring the actual NHL awards. Considering this was unarguably the best season in CBJ history, we had to follow it up with the second annual edition. So, over the next few weeks we will be slowly unveiling our rankings for every single award given out by the NHL, minus raw total awards as they are already determined (the Art Ross for most points (Ryan Johansen), Rocket Richard for most goals (Ryan Johansen), and William Jennings for goals against by team with goalies needing 25gp to be included (Sergei Bobrovsky & Curtis McElhinney)). The tUB team (AlisonL, Canadan, CBJProspects, DerDrache, Coach, Brett, and GregIn120), will rank three players per award (with one obvious exception), and provide an explanation for each of our rankings. These ranks will then be combined to determine who the tUB team feels deserves each award. Up first, we have the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the top rookie performer.
Last year’s winner: Dalton Prout
Calder nominees: Boone Jenner, Cody Goloubef, Michael Chaput, Ryan Murray, and Sean Collins.
The Falcons faced off against the Providence Bruins in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Unforunately, the Bruins earned the 3-2 series win. Let’s take a look back at the one playoff series the baby Jackets played in this season.
Starting off in game one, with the Falcons trailing 1-0 in the second Michael Chaput, Marko Dano and JF Jacques had a three on two with Dano sending a cross rink pass to Jacques (even tho it looked like he didn’t put much on it) to get a shot past Svedberg to make it 1-1. Later in the second period, Ryan Craig tipped in a Patrick McNeill shot to make it 2-1. The Bruins tied the game just before the midway point of the third and thus sent the game to overtime. Andrew Joudrey started and finished the rush when he passed the puck and then received it back to snap a shot just above the circle to win the game. Mike McKenna made 35 saves in the win.
Greetings all! Back again with the week in review for the Blue Jackets prospects, ok two weeks but the CBJ were so busy last week and it would have been a light update from me so my superiors said I could take some time off.
Starting off in Springfield, two weeks ago the AHL decided to make it “lets screw with the Falcons normal routine” week as the team opened with an 11AM game followed by a trip into THE FUTURE… or St John’s Newfoundland where it’s an hour and a half ahead of Eastern Standard Time. We begin in Bridgeport, CT for a game against the Sound Tigers. Anton Forsberg made his North American debut in net. In the first, the Tigers’ goalie tried to play the puck but he fired it right into Dana Tyrell who found Jake Hansen who beat Poulin back to the crease to make it 1-0. Three minutes later, Marko Dano struck for his first North American goal when he took a pass from Cody Goloubef and snapped off a shot to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead. Late in the third, the Sound Tigers spoiled Anton’s shutout bid before Cody Bass scored an empty netter. In the 3-1 win Anton Forsberg made 25 saves and was named second star with Dano being named first star.
Hello all – our updates are becoming a bit shorter with prospects wrapping up their seasons so let’s take a look at the players still in action in the past week.
Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons picked up a 3-0 win with Jeremy Smith picking up his first shutout of the season. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring when Ryan Craig rimmed the puck around the boards to Carter Camper who found Joudrey in front to shoot it past Cal Heeter. In the second period off a scramble in front, Ryan Craig made it 2-0 when Dana Tyrell drove to the net with Andrew Joudrey getting the puck, shooting, and the rebound going to Craig. Late in the third period, Jake Hansen scored his ninth of the season when Lukas Sedlak shot the puck. Heeter stopped it but Hansen knocked in the rebound. In the 3-0 victory Jeremy Smith made 28 saves in the win.
Saturday night the Birds were off to Hartford for a game against the Wolfpack. It was a big game as Jackets 2013 first round pick Marko Dano made his North American debut on a line with Michael Chaput and Jean Francois Jacques. The Falcons took the lead when Darryl Boyce scored 6:29 into the first. The Falcons added two more goals in the second period when Jacques and Boyce scored 20 seconds apart to make it 3-0. Halfway through the third, the Pack got on the scoreboard when Darroll Powe scored. 37 seconds later Carter Camper notched his first goal with the Falcons (and 12 points in 11 games). Just under a minute later, the Falcons struck again when Jean-Francois Jacques scored his second of the game. To finish out the scoring, Marko Dano picked up his first North American point when he battled Tommy Hughes for a puck, knocked him over, and got a shot off with Cody Bass picking up the rebound to make it 6-1 (video from Marko’s facebook page). In the 6-1 win Jeremy Smith made 26 saves. Also worth noting, Springfield fan @Katyloveshockey tweeted that on Marko’s first shift he laid a hit on Wolfpack defenseman/Rangers first round pick Dylan McIlrath giving up six inches and almost 50 pounds.
Starting off in Springfield, this week, the Falcons traveled to Worchester for a game with the baby Sharks. Andrew Joudrey opened the scoring with his 11th goal of the season 3:27 into the first. He tipped in a Carter Camper pass to make it 1-0. The Falcons allowed two second period goals before Dana Tyrell struck 22 seconds into the third period to tie it when he gathered a loose puck and snapped a shot past the Sharks goalie. Four minutes later, the Falcons scored on kind of a goofy play when Cody Goloubef passed to Michael Chaput who couldn’t corral the puck but Sean Collins did. He then passed to Jean Francois Jacques who sent a cross-crease pass to Matt Taormina who made it 3-1. Later in the period, Sean Collins scored when he got the puck from a board battle before making it 4-2 on his 13th goal of the season. Mike McKenna made 30 saves in the win for his 20th of the season.
Up next was a big one as the Falcons faced off against the Manchester Monarchs in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. In the second period, with the Falcons trailing 1-0, Denny Urban sent a shot through a screen to make it 1-1. Late in the third, with the Falcons trailing 4-1, Andrew Joudrey won a faceoff and Dana Tyrell drove to the net to score his 13th of the season. Mike McKenna made 18 saves in the 4-2 loss with the team allowing an empty net goal.
To close out the weekend, the Falcons welcomed the St. John’s IceCaps. It was a wild one, with the Caps taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. But then early in the second period, Patrick McNeill scored his first goal of the game to make it 3-1. 1:10 later St. John’s struck again to make it 4-1. Later in the second Michael Chaput scored his 18th goal of the season to make it 4-2. Early in the third Patrick McNeill potted his second of the game on the power play, and Ryan Craig scored his 15th goal to tie the game at four. Sadly, the Falcons allowed the IceCaps to score with only 1:19 remaining to lose by a score of 5-4. Jeremy Smith made 19 saves in the loss.
Hello all! Back again with the week in review – with a bit of delay as a team had a game rescheduled due to the Terry Trafford tragedy. Let’s look at how our players finished up the regular season after visiting the baby birds in the AHL.
Starting off in Springfield as we usually do, the Falcons had another light week going 2-0 with both games requiring third period comebacks. On Friday night against Albany, the Falcons opened the scoring when Jean Francois Jacques sent a backhand shot past the Devils goalie after intercepting a pass. The Falcons allowed two goals in 2:37 to close out the period, but then 2:56 into the second period, Matt Taormina scored his first with the team when he potted one off the rebound of Ryan Craig‘s shot. Midway through the second well…the Devils would again score two goals again in a little under five minutes to make it 4-2 Devils. The Falcons rallied in the third thankfully when Patrick McNeill opened the scoring on a power play when, after some passing, he fired a shot. It appeared Sean Collins scored but McNeill got credit for his seventh of the season. Five minutes later, Trent Vogelhuber scored his first of the season when he deflected a Denny Urban point shot to tie it at four. A few minutes later the Falcons scored for the third time on the power play (team went 3 for 3 in this game) when Carter Camper got the puck down low and sent a cross crease pass to Jean Francois Jacques who had a wide open net to shoot into for his second of the night. Patrick McNeill picked up his third point of the night sending Michael Chaput and Ryan Craig off on a two on one with Craig finishing it for his 13th of the season. Mike McKenna made 19 saves for his 18th win of the season.
Greetings all – This post covers the past TWO weeks for our prospects. I’m sorry for the delay – it just means there’s a lot to cover, so let’s get rolling.
Starting off in Springfi…wait no we don’t, we’re going for a change in venue as we start in St John’s Newfoundland at Mile One Centre. We head there for the AHL All Star Game. Unlike normal years, where it’s either the standard East-West or the older Canada-PlanetUSA format, this year the All Star Game was a team of AHL All Stars versus Farjestads of the Swedish Hockey League. Jackets Dmen Frederic St. Denis and Cody Goloubef represented the Falcons in the game with St. Denis serving as an alternate captain.
Starting on Tuesday with the Skills Competition, Cody and Frederic took part in the first event – the puck control relay – with both skating second of their trios. Brett Connolly gave the AHL a slight lead that Frederic then lost with Cody also finishing behind the Swedish skater. St. Denis’ group would lose but local boy Brenden Kichton, with the help of the Farjestads player falling, led to the AHL winning Cody’s heat. Cody and Frederic got the next four events off before taking part in the “Pass and Score” teaming up with Cam Atkinson’s college linemate, and current Albany forward, Joe Whitney. The group faced off against goaltender Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. In the event all three players have to touch the puck before shooting within 30 seconds. Cody scored on the first attempt with a snapshot from the slot and St. Denis scored on the third when Wentzel went for the double pad stack but he didn’t leave them on the ice allowing the puck to trickle past. In the final event, “the breakaway relay,” every player took part in a group of five. Cody was part of the second AHL group, shooting fourth. He fired a shot into Pekka Tuokkola’s glove. St. Denis was part of the third AHL group, shooting third on Frederik Pettersson-Wentzel. He tried some fancy stickhandling but was stopped. The score was tied after all four groups so the competition went to a sudden death shootout with IceCaps captain Jason Jaffrey clinching the victory in the third round thus giving the AHL a 17-18 victory in the Skills Competition.
The Olympic break is just that. A nice little break to take stock of the season so far. Looking back so far over the season, there are really two Blue Jackets squads. There is the injury riddled, under-performing bunch from the start of the year. Then there is the top ten team from the last couple months. Is any of this really that surprising though? We knew Nathan Horton would be out to start the year. We knew Sergei Bobrovsky would regress. We knew this was one of the youngest rosters in the league, one that had barely played together over the last couple of years. That has all the makings of a slow start.
However, the first few months of the year probably went worse than would be expected. Just check out the Jackets’ goal differential from the first few months (where they played like a borderline playoff team, with only a -2 goal differential through December 22nd), to now, where they have played like a legit playoff team (currently +9, good for 10th in the NHL). So injuries plus weak goaltending provides results worse than should be expected. That’s all the makings for a turnaround. Aka the last two months are not a fluke.
So where do we go from here? I’ve got two views of it. The first, to follow in this post, is the small picture. It’s the trade deadline and this current offseason. You can’t fully discuss one without talking about the other. Player re-signings, rentals, prospects, draft picks; they are all just so intertwined, it makes sense to discuss both. The other view is the big picture, coming later this week. It’s based around a not-so-simple question: who do the Blue Jackets want to be?
With that being said, let’s look back to the current roster. Per CapGeek , the Jackets are currently sitting on around $2.5m in cap space, although they will have about $4m by the deadline. That means they can add up to that much in salary without sending any out. Basically, unless the Jackets are targeting one of a handful of premium rentals, they don’t need to move out anyone of significance. This picture gets even rosier this offseason. The team will have about $22m in cap space for next year, with ten forwards, four defensemen, one goalie signed. That is a lot of room to work with, and considering the young age of the roster, GM Jarmo Kekelainen and President John Davidson can take this team in just about any direction they want. I’m not Jarmo or JD, but here is the direction I would like to see them take, broken down by player status.