Believe it or Not: The Columbus Blue Jackets Play Real Hockey Tonight

Believe it or Not: The Columbus Blue Jackets Play Real Hockey Tonight

Ryan Knuppel
3 years ago
3 min read
Believe it or Not: The Columbus Blue Jackets Play Real Hockey Tonight

It's been 142 days since the Columbus Blue Jackets last took to the ice, and when they drop the puck at 7:00 PM on Monday night, the team will look dramatically different than it did a season ago.

Needing to pivot into somewhat of a rebuild, the Blue Jackets made a ton of moves this offseason, including trading Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks, swapping Cam Atkinson for Jakub Voráček, and making trades and signings to get the roster younger and faster.

In case you missed it, here's a look at the big stories from the Blue Jackets' offseason to catch up before Monday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

New Season, New Coach

The Blue Jackets parted ways with head coach John Tortorella at the end of the 2021 season and promoted assistant coach Brad Larsen to take over. Larsen played for the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers during his career, then began coaching with the Springfield Falcons. He's been an assistant with Columbus for the past seven seasons, but Larsen should still bring a fresh voice to the locker room.

"You're excited," Larsen said. "I'm not going to be jumping up and down, but internally, I'm very excited. I'm excited about our staff, excited about the players. It's a very humbling opportunity when you get a role like this at this level so you do everything you can to prepare for it and trust what you do, and then you get after it."

New Names to Know

The Blue Jackets' blue line got an overhaul this offseason following the Seth Jones trade. One of the biggest pieces in that deal was Adam Boqvist, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Boqvist has played in 76 games over the past two seasons and just turned 21 in August, but don't let those numbers fool you - Boqvist is an experienced pro and will be a huge asset to the Columbus power play. He'll slot in as the right-side d-man on the top pairing opposite Zach Werenski and is capable of playing big minutes.

Columbus also traded for Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jake Bean, bringing him on board just after the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Bean was the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft, but given Carolina's elite defensive pipeline, he wasn't playing enough minutes to kickstart his development.

Bean will get that chance with the Blue Jackets, and though he'll likely start on the third pairing, he may push for second pairing minutes before the year is over. Early indications are that Bean will also get time on the second power-play unit.

Sean Kuraly, a native of Dublin, OH, also signed with Columbus. He'll lock down the third line center position to start the year but may move up to the second line. Kuraly plays a physical game and will give the Blue Jackets some punch down the middle.

Prospects to Watch on Monday

Cole Sillinger, Columbus' 12th overall pick in the 2021 draft and a native of Columbus, should make his Blue Jackets debut on Monday. All signs point to Sillinger centering Patrik Laine and Jakub Voráček, and if he continues to impress as he has in camp so far, there's a good chance to make the roster out of camp.

Liam Foudy should get a chance to make the lineup as well. Columbus' first-round pick in 2018, Foudy, is still trying to find his footing at the NHL level. He exceeded a point per game pace last season with the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL, but Foudy also scored just two points in 10 games with Team Canada at World Juniors.

Projected Opening Day Lineup

  • FORWARD LINE 1: Patrik Laine - Jack Roslovic - Jakub Voráček
  • FORWARD LINE 2: Gustav Nyquist - Max Domi - Oliver Bjorkstrand
  • FORWARD LINE 3: Boone Jenner - Sean Kuraly - Liam Foudy
  • FORWARD LINE 4: Eric Robinson - Alexandre Texier - Yegor Chinakhov
  • DEFENSIVE PAIRING 1: Zach Werenski - Adam Boqvist
  • DEFENSIVE PAIRING 2: Vladislav Gavrikov - Andrew Peeke
  • DEFENSIVE PAIRING 3: Jake Bean - Dean Kukan
  • GOALTENDERS: Joonas Korpisalo, Elvis Merzlikins
  • SCRATCHES: Emil Bemstrӧm, Mikko Lehtonen, Kevin Stenlund

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