The 2023 Columbus Blue Jackets defensive unit started off on shaky ground. Switching to a man-to-man scheme it was an adjustment to say the least. About three weeks into the season some players began to catch on, and then the injuries started. Losing perhaps the teams most important player Zach Werenski was a massive blow. Jake Bean who looked much better was also lost for the season. The Blue Jackets pipeline is chalked with solid defensemen who figure to be mainstays in Columbus once the “reset” is complete. So what could future pairings look like? Let’s take a look.
First and foremost go ahead and pen (or sharpie) Werenski on the top line. A very brief pairing (due to injury) with Adam Boqvist looked like it would be a solid pairing. The two should get another look to see if they can reclaim the chemistry they briefly showed.
Again being future pairings based on ability and projection and players that could compliment each other, I have Corson Ceulemans and Blue Jackets top prospect, David Jiricek on the second line. Jiricek who projects by well, just about everyone as a top line defensemen would give excellent depth on the second line.
The third line pairing, could be Stanislav Svozil, who had two very solid games at the end of the season in Columbus (and a prospect I am very high on for whatever that’s worth) and Dento Mateychuck, two shutdown style defensive players who have some offensive upside.
While it seems that Jiricek is almost or next to a lock to make the Columbus roster out of training camp, it will be interesting to see where the likes of Mateychuck, Svozil and Ceulemans are placed. The Cleveland Monsters seems likely. Regardless, all of the Blue Jackets top defensive prospects should get a look in Columbus at some point next season.
I do have Jake Bean still on the roster as he really did take a big step forward in his shortened season. There is a reason to be excited for fans. It will take a little while but it will be worth the wait once the prospects are in Columbus full time. Again this is only a guess post “reset.”