After trading away long time captain Nick Foligno, the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for a new voice to fill the void left. Fresh off of contract extensions both Boone Jenner (longest tenured Blue Jacket) who has the respect of the front office, coach’s and teammates makes sense to wear the captain’s “C.” So does defensive standout Zach Werenski who was captain of the Michigan Wolverines hockey team and also has the respect from all involved.
In my opinion, Jenner and Werenski are two players who are worthy of being the Columbus Blue Jackets next captain. They possess an over-the-top work ethic and command the attention and respect of the entire Blue Jackets organization because of the way they go about their work.
Whichever one does not wear the captain’s “C,” is nearly a slam dunk to wear an “A” (Alternate captain.) There is no secret recipe to picking a captain. Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen said they will know when they have the right person and in all likely hood they have already identified that person.
Fans want to know right now who if anyone will be the next Blue Jackets captain. Kekalainen said the team can wait until training camp right up to the start of the season. There is a chance the team may not name a captain for the 2021-22 NHL season but that seems remote given the choices the organization has.
Both Jenner and Werenski would make excellent captain’s. Yet, knowing the two players it is safe to say whichever or whoever is named captain they will root for and continue to respect each other and both will continue to lead by example and speak up and out as needed.
Both Jenner, (Who has been a Blue Jackets alternate captain) and Werenski qualify for the void left by Foligno. In my opinion the two players are going to head into camp as the two top targets for the captain’s “C.”
The perception around the NHL has been the Columbus Blue Jackets are unable to keep star players. There has been truth to that. Until last night when the Blue Jackets announced they have signed defensive standout Zach Werenski to a 6 year $57.5 million dollar contract extension. Just like that general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has silenced the chatter.
Not long ago, I wrote that the Columbus Blue Jackets should offer defensive standout Zach Werenski the deal they were rumored to be offering then Blue Jackets defensive standout Seth Jones. Thursday night out of the blue that is exactly what the franchise did.
There are no two ways about it, this is a major win for Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets. To not only draft a player, develop him into an All-Star caliber and a player who is gifted in the offensive end and has really taken big steps defensively and lock him up in his prime is huge.
Zach Werenski who since being in the NHL is tied for third in goals (65) for a defensemen and ranks 19th in points (139) for a defensemen. For Werenski who is one of the NHL’s best defensive players his pay raise will now reflect both market value for a player of his stature and his value to the Blue Jackets organization.
This is exactly what the Columbus Blue Jackets have needed to do. To hand out a massive contract to a player approaching the prime of their career and end players leaving for seemingly greener pastures elsewhere is excellent news.
This shows players around the league and the Blue Jackets fan base that enough is enough. The organization is now ready to lock up players which is more inviting to free agents and to the current roster members.
This seems to be a new era of Blue Jackets hockey one with a focus on keeping talent.
As the days have pressed on since Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones announced he would not re-sign with the team, many fans and media outlets have wondered and pondered if the Blue Jackets were about to embark on a full-blown rebuild. If they do, what would that look like? I offer some thoughts, mind you this is before any trades are made, if any at all.
By many accounts the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to entice Seth Jones to sign a long-term contract by offer him a max deal. 8 years at $9-$9.5 million per-season as well as offer him the teams captaincy. In my opinion the Blue Jackets should now offer that same deal to defensemen Zach Werenski.
Werenski was the captain of the Michigan Wolverines hockey team and by all indications the 24 year old has the respect in the Blue Jackets locker room needed to be named captain. If the Blue Jackets do make the offer and lock up Werenski they would be doing so before he enters his prime years. This would be key.
At just 23 years old and despite coming off his worst pro season the Columbus Blue Jackets should also offer a massive deal to Patrik Laine. A player of Laine’s prowess does not come along everyday. Not to mention Laine like Werenski is not in the prime of his career yet.
Next players that are on the current roster suggest this could be a shorter rebuild. Max Domi, Gustav Nyquist, Eric Robinson, Jack Roslovic, Vladislav Gavrikov and a couple others give hope that shorter rebuild is on the horizon.
Armed with 3 first round draft picks (the first pick is #5 overall) gives the Blue Jackets something to work with. They could use all three first round picks or trade one or two to upgrade the roster to ice a competitive team next season.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager, Jarmo Kekalainen is said to be bent on fixing the teams center position which is in desperate need of an upgrade. There is little doubt that the GM will indeed fix the position.
While the Blue Jackets have a lot of salary cap space, they need to be wise how they use it. One thing I believe the organization should do is build around defensemen Zach Werenski and the offensive skills of Patrik Laine. This would be the smart thing to do.
Embed from Getty Images The Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, has built the team from the back (goalie and defense) out. The Blueliners for the Blue Jackets, are the driving force of the team. Enter what many say will be the teams next captain Zach Werenski.
Drafted in the first round of the 2015 NHL draft out of the University of Michigan, the smooth skating tough checking Werenski, is already a fan favorite no small feat because of where he played his collage hockey.
He drives the Blue Jackets power play and is very skilled in the offensive end. Of all the Columbus Blue Jackets defensmen he is hands down the best passer on the team.
In only his second NHL season Zach, was named to the all-star team. He has outstanding vision and poise nothing rattles this kid. Including, breaking his orbital bone in the 2017 NHL playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
His eye swollen and black and blue Zach Werenski, came back out on the ice face shield and all and played. And just like that a kid from Michigan became an Ohio sports legend. Leaving his head coach John Tortorella, to tell the media “That kid has stones the size of this building.”
Zach, will be captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was capatin of a Michigan hockey team that won a National Championship. He is a born leader. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a better team because of him.