When Columbus Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen, announced the organization was entering a “reset” many thought that was code for rebuild. After Columbus stunned the hockey world Wednesday night by signing free agent left wing (LW) Johnny Gaudreau it appears it was and is a reset after all. Now it looks like the Blue Jackets are set to start the climb back to the NHL Playoffs.
Johnny Gaudreau is a playmaker. As in elite playmaker. Last season with the Calgary Flames, Gaudreau amassed 40 goals, 75 assists and 115 points. While many people were shocked at the signing, Gaudreau said that he had Columbus circled as a possible destination during free agency.
Until the news broke Wednesday evening, Columbus was never a hot bed for NHL free agents. Now with Johnny Gaudreau those days may be over. Again, Gaudreau said he had Columbus circled as a possible team he would sign with. Meaning, he wanted to come to the Blue Jackets.
Back to Jarmo Kekalainen, who said after the 2019 exits of Artemi Panarin and other high profile players he wants players who want to be in Columbus. Players like Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine.
Columbus is set on the left side. With Gaudreau, Laine and Jakub Voracek. The team still needs to come to terms with Laine on a new contract. It makes you think does the team view Voracek as a long term player or will they attempt to move him to free up space to sign Laine?
During his press conference Gaudreau spoke highly of Laine and sure made it seem like he wants to be on the same team as him. So what does this mean for the Blue Jackets moving forward?
The Columbus Blue Jackets have a lot of talent. The team is still young, but they are armed with Cole Sillinger, Kent Johnson, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Boone Jenner, Gustav Nyquist, Jack Roslovic, Emil Bemtrom, Alexandre Texier, Gaudreau, Vorceck and Laine.
In order to be in the mix for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Columbus would need to pick up at least 19 more points this season. Many of the teams young players have a full season under their belts and are expected to take the next step. Which is possible.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are clearly a team on the rise. This will be a fun season and one that very well could see them back in the playoffs.
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