Cannonball: Preview of the Predators

Tomorrow the Jackets travel to music city to visit Ryan Johansen and the Nashville Predators (6-3-1 in last 10). The Jackets have hit a bit of a skid as of late (5-5-0 in last 10) and have not looked good even in the games we have won as of late. With all-star weekend providing a much needed break to most of the team (except for Jones, Bobrovsky, and hopefully Atkinson now that Malkin is out) which may be just what they need. Not to sound like a grade school coach, but it just doesn’t look like they are having much fun out there right now.

The last three meetings between the Predators and Jackets have not been all that exciting with Nashville taking two out of three games played and all three were won by four goals. Both teams enter this game with a new marquee defender on the roster Nashville via trade (Weber for Subban) and the Jackets via draft (Werenski) and both enter Thursday sporting injuries on defense (Josi for NSH, Savard and Nutivaara for CBJ – Savard may be available).

Here is a quick team stats comparison:

Offense Ranking:   CBJ: 3rd  NSH: 12th

Defense Ranking: CBJ: 4th  NSH: 10th

Power play ranking: CBJ: 1st  NSH: 16th

Penalty Kill Ranking: CBJ: 8th  NSH:10th

Goals per Game AVG: CBJ: 3.30  NSH: 2.75

Goals Against AVG: CBJ: 2.32  NSH: 2.52

PIM per Game: CBJ: 9.1  NSH: 9.8

Shot Differential per Game: CBJ: .32  NSH: .92

Player Highlight:

For the CBJ Cam Atkinson just keeps scoring goals (second in the NHL only to some guy named Crosby) and has done so in the last two games even with being taken off the NHL’s #1 power play unit.

For NSH while former Jacket Ryan Johansen leads the club in points (36), Filip Forsberg has been coming on over the course of the last 15 days after a tumultuous start to the season. He is currently 15-17-32 with a -4 +/-.

Game Insight:

The current question is who will start in goal for the CBJ? Korpisalo has not been strong in his last full showing giving up six in a win against Ottawa (though he did stop the bleeding against NYI once Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up four), and Bobrovsky is coming off a game in which he was pulled (his third this season, Boston, Washington, New York Islanders). Bobrovsky has been the winning goalie in each start following being pulled thus far this season. With Bob’s selection as an all-star, I have to believe he starts against Nashville and then sits against the Rangers immediately following the all-star break. If Bob is in, we most likely win – rhyme optional.

Our vets have to get going. Brandon Saad is on a cold streak that has to end (right?), Dubinsky has been strong in the faceoff circle but only possesses a 7.7% shooting percentage, and Boone Jenner has been invisible for the majority of games this season. On the young guy side of the roster, no one has emerged as dependable in the faceoff circle with both Karlsson (44.8% face off wins) and Wennberg (46% face off wins) continuing to struggle. Luckily, the predators face a similar issue with their 3rd and 4th line guys struggling to get the puck off the dot too (Ribeiro 41.2% and Sisson 48.9%).

For me, this game is less about the Predators and more about the Blue Jackets getting back to better play. Our ten game record does not accurately reflect how poorly we have been defending or that we have gone back to primarily dumpling and chasing rather than possessing into the offensive zone. This involves playing more than one period per game well. We will be a playoff team this year and we have to start gearing up for that level of play.

Worthless stat:

So far this season, Nashville wins 65% of its home games and Columbus wins 65% of its away games

Interesting stat:

The Blue Jackets currently have ZERO players that have played in 10 games or more with a negative +/-. Even lifting the 10 game criteria only two are negative (Milano -1, 2 GP and Bjorkstrand -1, 5GP).

Let’s Go Jackets!

The list: Halloween/Superhero Edition

Periodically I am going to create a list involving the Blue Jackets roster. It is going to be total non-sensical fun. Remember that. It’s for fun.

For the preseason list I have taken a few members of the CBJ roster and tried to see which comic book superhero they most resemble or share attributes with.

The Hulk: Dalton Prout – This is a no-brainer, with the only difficulty being I can’t envision any aspect of Dalton Prout’s demeanor matching up with the mild mannered Hulk alter-ego Bruce Banner. Also, I doubt Dalton has the science chops of Bruce Banner. As for the green guy version of Bruce Banner, ole number 47 seems to do a pretty good hulk smash.

Ghost Rider: Brandon Dubinsky – While I don’t think Dubi has made any deals with the devil, I don’t think it would take much convincing to get people to believe he is possessed. He has that Johnny Blaze edge, with the nice-guy persona mixed in there too (who wouldn’t buy an engagement ring from Dubinsky’s jeweler of choice?). In my far too rampant imagination it would be awesome if his head burst into a skull of flames every time he began to lose it on the ice. Crosby is already a little scared of him. This might be unfair to the flightless bird’s captain.

Deadpool: Scott Hartnell – A foul mouthed, always under the skin of whoever is in front of them wise-ass – this just fits too easily. Can we all agree though that as much as we like Hartnell we will pass on seeing him in a red skin-tight spandex suit?

Captain America: Brandon Saad – While not the captain of the hockey team, to be Captain America you must actually be American (unwritten rule). He seems to always have a smile on his face (even after a puck tried to take most of his teeth last year) and even has that combed to the side hairdo like Steve Rogers. Leads the team in offense, leads the avengers in his spare time.

Beast: David Savard – Go to the team website. Go to google images. Go anywhere you can see a picture of David Savard. Tell me I am wrong.

Wolverine: Boone Jenner – Somewhat ill tempered, operates on his terms, is the guy that bring the team together. While I wish Boone had that adamantium skeletal system two years ago when we lost him to the back injury, he is currently the glue to the Jackets physical presence on both ends of the ice. I also would like to think that if he had Wolverine’s claws he would do us all a favor and use them on Pittsburgh fans.

Nightcrawler: Cam Atkinson – Quick, can show up out of no where thank to teleportation, and always an integral piece of the story, just never the lead. I am sure if I did research there would be an issue where Nightcrawler delivered a dog to someone – I just am not that into researching for these lists. No word if Cam was found at a circus like his comic book alter ego.

Lois Lane: Sidney Crosby – Always in trouble or starting trouble and letting someone else fight their battles. If Superman hadn’t spun the world against its rotation would have died under a pile of dirt. I wish someone would do this and take last year’s cup out of Pittsburgh.

 

BOF Report: 10/25 Kings (OTL 3-2)

Basically:

The story of the season thus far is how the Jackets special teams are playing so dominantly. Saad gets on the board for the first time this season and Gagner creates a goal for Atkinson (a beauty). Bobrovsky continues to look tough and was tested with some looks that easily could have been goals, especially in the first period. Transition back in overtime ended up costing us the second point, but Jones has played well thus far so we cannot hold this turnover against him too much. We take the point and move on to back to backs with San Jose and Anaheim.

The Overreaction:

I understand that Murray is hurt, I get it, and to a certain point I am used to it. But why in the holy hell do we keep putting Nutivaara and Prout on the same pairing?!? We might as well hang on sign around Bob’s neck saying “here’s your chance”.  These two haven’t been able to get the puck cleanly out of our own end yet. Is Harrington worse than this? WTF?

Final Thought:

Werenski finally had a game where he didn’t make it onto the score sheet. Even without notching a point, it is impossible not to notice him in every game. We constantly hear about developing talent, but this kid has “it” and he showed up in Columbus possessing it before we made any adjustments.

Point Scorers for CBJ:

Goals: Atkinson, Saad

Assists: Foligno, Gagner, Savard, Wennberg

 

16-17 CBJ Preview: Show Me The Money

As you may have heard, the Blue Jackets are not going to have a whole lot of breathing room to stay under the salary cap which is expected to be around 73 million for the season. Rather than regale you with my limited knowledge of the intricacies of how each of our players contracts affects the cap, I thought I would show you what everybody is getting paid this year. If you really want to dive into it, I strongly suggest checking out CapFriendly.com. Below are only players currently on the CBJ roster (plus Werenski, he will be on the roster), so 3-4 more will be added prior to the opener – most likely all on entry level deals as no PTO’s (Professional Try Out) are currently projected to make the team.

Symbol Glossary:

* = Entry Level Contract

◊ = No Movement Clause

♠ = Two-way Contract

Forwards :

  • Brandon Saad
    • $5,750,000/ UFA in ’21-’22
  • Brandon Dubinsky (◊)
    • $5,850,000/UFA in ’21-’22
  • Nick Foligno (◊)
    • $5,500,000/UFA in ’21-’22
  • David Clarkson (◊)
    • $7,000,000/UFA in ’20-’21 (or two eternities from now)
  • Scott Hartnell (◊)
    • $5,000,000/UFA in ’19-’20
  • Cam Atkinson
    • $3,500,000/UFA in ’18-’19
  • Boone Jenner
    • $2,900,000/RFA in ’18-’19
  • Matt Calvert
    • $2,200,000/UFA in ’18-’19
  • Gregory Campbell
    • $1,300,000/UFA in ’17-’18
  • William Karlsson (♠)
    • $1,000,000/RFA in ’18-’19
  • Alexander Wennberg (*♠) [waivers exempt]
    • $925,000/RFA in ’17-’18
  • Sam Gagner
    • $625,000/UFA in ’17-’18

Defense:

  • Seth Jones
    • $5,400,000/UFA in ’22-’23
  • Jack Johnson
    • $5,000,000/UFA in ’18-’19
  • David Savard
    • $3,500,000/UFA in ’21-’22
  • Ryan Murray
    • $2,825,000/RFA in ’18-’19
  • Dalton Prout
    • $1,250,000/UFA in ’18-’19
  • Cody Goloubef
    • $800,000/UFA in ’17-’18
  • Zach Werenski (*♠)
    • $925,000/RFA in ’19-’20

Goalies:

  • Sergei Bobrovsky
    • $8,500,000/UFA in ’19-’20
  • Curtis McElhinney
    • $800,000/UFA in ’17-’18

 

16-17 CBJ Player Profile: David Savard

Name: David Savard, #58

Position: D

Birthplace: St. Hyacinthe, Quebec

Age: 25, born 10/22/90

Height/Weight: 6 ft 2 in/ 227 lbs

What he has going for him:

Savard has been incredibly dependable at getting the puck out of the CBJ zone without giving it back to the other team, something that the Jackets have consistently struggled with the last two years. He also was a stalwart penalty killer for the team, a role he most likely will reprise again this year.

What he has going against him:

The additions of Seth Jones last year and Zach Werenski this year most likely points to Savard shuffling between the second and third defensive pairing. I also cannot see him as a power play option given the increase in scoring ability that the club receives from some of our other defenders. Likely to see a decrease in overall ice time this year, but will still be a valuable part of the Jackets blue line.

Prediction for this season:

A solid defender on the Blue Jackets improved back end, but I do not see any increase in his main stat line this year.

’16-’17 Jackets Rant stat line prediction: Goals: 3, Assists: 18, Total Points: 21