Often when a sports team has a bad season fans view it as a “throw away.” For the Columbus Blue Jackets (25-48) they now know they will pick no worse than #4 in this summer’s NHL Draft. There is some more good news for the Blue Jackets, no really This season that on the surface was disappointing actually has some silver linings, let’s dig in.
For starters the team got some eye popping play and a look into the future from both Kirill Marchenko and Kent Johnson. Marchenko started the season in Cleveland with the Monsters as the Blue Jackets organization thought it best to allow him time to get use to the North American hockey rinks.
Once called up Marchenko put on a show. 21- goals, 4- assists, 25 points. Marchenko played most nights on the Columbus top line. He looks to be a natural goal scorer and a big part of the teams retooling.
His teammate Kent Johnson looks like a top-end NHL player. 16-goals, 24-assists,40 points, for Johnson stats do not tell the whole story. Playing outstanding defense and driving plays Johnson played better and better and with a lot of confidence. Johnson was if not the, close to it best Blue Jacket post All-Star game.
Adam Boqvist, this is a player fans have waited to fulfill his pre-draft projections. This season Boqvist did just that and should be part on the Columbus defensive unit for some time. Playing in 46 games due to injury Boqvist bested his points total this season tallying 24. His play in the defensive end was much better and he now enters the conversation as a potential top four defenseman who is more than capable to quarterback the power play (PP.)
Patrik Laine who missed time (as most Blue Jackets) with injuries, yet Laine has and is becoming a really good two-way player. No longer does Laine drift to the outside, he is now in the middle fighting for pucks and being more physical. Laine even showed he can play center and play it well. Could that be a spot for him moving forward?
While there was plenty of bad to go around, such as; the defense was a mess even with everyone healthy early on. The organization made the switch to man-to-man and it was rocky which is very kind. Cole Sillinger was in a season long sophomore slump and was sent to Cleveland in part to help the Monsters playoff push but more as a reset for a player who is a large part of the future. As mentioned the Blue Jackets had a near unbelievable rash of injuries with 541 lost man minutes, yikes!
So now the wait is on until the NHL Draft Lottery, Monday, May 8 to see just where the Columbus Blue Jackets will be selecting.