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Are The Bluejackets Really That Far Off?

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I know Nash is pretty much officially on the market, but just looking up and down their roster it doesn't look like the BJ's are that far off from being a successful team in the NHL. There were only 2 Bluejackets who played every game last season, these guys were destroyed by intermittent injuries. Maybe one or two pieces here and there, but they shouldn't be in a full-rebuild mode considering some of these amazing pieces:

1) Nash - He should still be in his prime, 30-40 goal scoring ability for the next 3 to 4 seasons.

2) Brassard - 2 consecutive 40-point seasons and makes a great 2nd line center with potential.

3) Prospal - Getting old now coming off a 55 point season but most likely a 40 point player

4) Umberger - 4 consecutive 20-goal seasons, still young and likely to clear 50 points again.

5) Huselius - Played 2 games last season, this guy has 20-goal potential too.

6) Letestu - Still young but as had 2 seasons on pace for 30 points which is great for a 3rd liner.

7) Ryan Johansen - Still just 19 but has potential to break out any season now, one of their best wings

8) Cam Atkinson - Scored at a 20-goal, 40 point pace last season, small but plenty of potential

To me those are all some great middle-tier, 20 goal/40 point players who all have great potential to break through soon and have a career year within the next 2 or 3 seasons (especially Johansen, Atkinson, Brassard and Letestu).

The same goes for their surprisingly studded defence:

1) Nikitin - Still young but scored at a 10-goal, 40 point pace which is great for a defenceman

2) Jack Johnson - 15 goal, 50 point pace with the Bluejackets and he's only getting better

3) Wisnewski - Scored at a 10-goal, 40 point pace and in his prime, very physical too

4) Tyutin - Veteran Russian who can guide Nikitin, scoring at a 30-point pace too

5) David Savard - Young, big defenceman scored at a 30-point pace

6) Marc Methot - Giant defenceman, very physical and still only 26

That's a very offensive-minded defence that can score, especially their big-3 (similar to the Canucks). The problem with their top-4 is defensive positioning, which they could fix up with tighter coaching or bringing in a defensive specialist ala Garrisson, Allen, Vandemeer etc.

Their only serious problem is goaltending, which is unsalvageable unless Mason can somehow turn out a good season here or there (which, as a high draft pick, he can do). With Columbus likely to grab either Yakupov or another dynamic forward, they could slot them right into the top-6 to play alongside Nash and suddenly you have a very dangerous top-9 forward group.

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I see what you mean. I was thinking the same thing about the Kings, when they were doing lousy.

Even Edmonton a few years ago. They weren't really bad enough to get last twice in a row. It's just that things didn't click well for them.

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yeah, Mason wasn't near good enough...

depending on who they get for Nash they could be back on track to compete in the not-too-distant future, since like you said OP they have good complementary pieces but they haven't been able to put it together offensively. It's easier to get the complementary guys than the franchise studs, which was why so much was put into the Carter acquisition. They don't have a #1 center (Johansen could be one), plus despite all their high draft picks (Brassard, Mason, Filatov, Voracek...) they haven't had as much success as expected with some major flops. So no, they're not that far off, they only need several pieces, but those are major pieces (starting G, 1st C)

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Players such as Brassard, Letestu, and Atkinson aren't nearly as good as their point totals indicate. They are all okay 3rd line players, but since Columbus' roster is weak they were given 2nd line minutes. They are young so there is a chance they might become legit 2nd line players, but they aren't there right now.

Their defence got a lot better by acquiring Johnson. Before then they didn't have a real top pairing D man (debatable for Wisniewski, but he is mistake prone and was injured for much of the season), so I think their D might be quite a bit better than previous years.

Their biggest problem is certainly goaltending, Mason simply cannot get the job done. If they got a real starting goaltender, I think they could be a playoff bubble team this year.

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Well if you compare the Bluejackets players to the rest of the league, they only need a few pieces:

Nash (All-star 1st liner) - Brassard (10-20 points off where he should be) - Huselius (25-goal scorer, 10 points off)

Prospal (Ideal 2nd liner) - Umberger (20 goals, ideal 2nd liner) - Johansen (ideal 2nd liner if he can continue his progression)

Dorsett (12 goals, 235 PIMs) - Letestu (above-average 3rd liner) - Atkinson (0.5 PPG, ideal 3rd liner)

Mackenzie (7G) - Gilles - Boll

That's your standard fighter 4th line with about as much offence as Malhotra and Weise brought.

That's a 3rd line which actually out-produced the Canucks' 3rd line in terms of pace (especially Letestu)

That's a perfect-mix 2nd line with good size and grit (Umberger), speed and youth(Johansen), experience (Prospal) and all are skilled guys which is how you win Cups nowadays.

Their top line obviously could produce a bit more, especially Brassard, but we saw Boston win a Cup with no player at a point a game all season long. Columbus has surprising depth, especially at center, and where their stars don't score, their defence does with 3 defencemen scoring at over a 0.5 PPG click (J. Johnson, Nikitin, Wisnewski) who would have out-scored the Canucks big trio if they were healthy all season long.

Like I said, their main problem is goaltending and they could fix that very easily with their #1 overall pick.

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They lack goaltending, a bonafide 1st line center, a good defensive defenseman or a #1 guy, and their 3rd line doesn't have anyone that impresses me. They're still pretty far away for a playoff spot, I laughed at people claiming them contenders last year just because they had Carter.

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