Blue Jackets News and Notes from Preseason Week 1

Blue Jackets News and Notes from Preseason Week 1

Barry Devoe
1 year ago
3 min read
Blue Jackets News and Notes from Preseason Week 1

The Columbus Blue Jackets underwent a significant roster turnover this offseason, but we've already seen plenty to be optimistic about for the short and long-term futures of the franchise. Here are the top things that caught our eye during Preseason Week 1.

Bean, Jenner Tied for Preseason Points Lead

Jake Bean and Boone Jenner each recorded separate three-point games to take the lead in preseason points. Bean scored a goal with two assists during a 5-4 shootout loss against the Buffalo Sabres, while Jenner scored a pair of goals and an assist in the 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

The Blue Jackets acquired Bean in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, then signed him to a three-year, $7 million contract extension. The 13th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Bean was one of the top prospects in Carolina's system, but he didn't see sufficient ice time for his development, playing in just 44 NHL games to this point in his career. He projects as a second-pairing defenseman this year who should get power playtime.

Jenner is the only returning captain from last season's roster and is one of four players to have worn the "A" ahead of this season, along with Oliver Bjorkstrand, Vladislav Gavrikov, and Zach Werenski.

Rinaldo Clears Waivers but Won't Report to Cleveland

Enforcer Zac Rinaldo signed a one-year deal with Columbus in August, but after choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the team sent Rinaldo through waivers. After clearing, the team informed Rinaldo he was not to report to the Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, as he would be the only player on the team who is not vaccinated. 

"Our position has been very clear that our organization is committed to doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, and fans," general manager and alternate governor Jarmo Kekalainen said. "Given the impact, COVID-19 continues to have in our communities, we believe the best course of action given Zac's vaccination status is to not have him report to Cleveland at this time."

Rinaldo played in just four NHL games last season, failing to record a point. He did end up with five penalty minutes. In his 374 game career, Rinaldo has scored 18 goals and 24 assists with 758 penalty minutes. 

"While we respect an individual's right to make a personal choice with regards to being vaccinated or not, we have a responsibility to do what we believe is best for our organization," Kekalainen continued. "We will honor Zac's contract, but if he wants to pursue any other opportunities to play this season, we will allow him to do so."

Four Games to Go

The Blue Jackets will play an additional four preseason games, starting with Monday's rematch with the Sabres. Columbus will also play the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, the Blues on Friday, and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

New Jackets coach Brad Larsen believes there is a lot to learn over the next four games, and some of the young guns who weren't expected to earn a roster spot, such as Cole Sillinger and Yegor Chinakhov, may be in the mix to start the season at the NHL level.

"You might have some guys that are shocked on opening night," Larsen said. "We have some kids that are pushing. I think everybody sees it. Guys will get rewarded if they're playing well."

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