Im going to take a look of what the line up will most likely be this year, while also posting my prediction for goals scored to try to figure out what the offense will look like compared to the rest of the league ( i am only doing goals, not assists) with that said here we go.
Umberger (25) Dubinsky (22) prospal (16)
Foligno (21) Anisimov (24) Brassard (18)
Letestu (11) Johanson (21) Atkinson (17)
Calvert(15) Mackenzie (8) Dorsett (12)
Johnson (7) Wisniewski (11)
Tyutin (6) Nikitin (9)
Acoin (0) Moore (2)
Murray (2) Erixon (2)
I think Umberger is good for 25 goals this year, i think he is the safest bet out of the whole team. Dubinsky i see as having a come back year with him getting much more ice time than he did in NY. i could easily see his goals increase back to the 20+ region with his increased ice time and PP time.
I think Prospal playing on the top line with dubinsky will see more of his helpers ad up more than his goals, but i think he could easily make 16 goals.
Foligno is a tough one. i think he will be similar to what he was in ottawa. tough to play against good defensively and great talent with out great finishing abilities. while id like to think he will break the 20 goal i think it is very possible that he falls to the 15-18 goal range while assists will increase.
Anisimov was my favorite piece from the Nash trade. i think giving him real ice time and helping him boost his confidence i think he is poised for a break out year (keep in mind he had more points per 60 minutes of ice time than Nash) i think he will break 20 goals and put up 55-60 points.
Brassard. Is who i think he will always be. a solid middle 6 forward who will put up 45-50 points. i think having a little more stability with richards than he had with arniel will help, especially with his confidence. i see brassard getting 18 goals while putting up around 50 points.
Letestu is a natural center, but with the log jam of centers he (along with brassard) will be the odd ones out getting pushed to the wing. that said he is a solid 2 way bottem 6 forward but i dont see him putting up more than 11-12 goals.
Johanson is my bold prediction i think this is his break out year where he puts up 20+ goals for around 60-65 points. this could eventually elevate him to the top 6 moving either brassard or Dubinsky to 3rd line duties ( i think anisimov will cement himself as the number 2 center)
Atkinson is a big mystery. was the end of last year a fluke (like a calvert or Clitsome) or is it a sign of things to come i think 17 goals for around 35-40 points isnt to far fetched. but if he continues his success form the year before i could see him a 20 goal 60 point scorer.
Calvert, i think, will make the line up full time this year as a 4th line energy player. i can see him contributing on offense very once in a while but its hard to imagine him putting in more than 15. especially with 4th line minutes i actually see him scoring less than 15 before scoring more than 15.
Mackenzie is who he is. another energy bottem 6 forward that chips in a goal now and then. i think 8 is his limit.
Dorsett had a break out year, however i dont see him ever being a highend scorer. i think another 12 goal season is in the cards for him
oh now the defense.
Johnson will be our biggest offensive threat, however i see him as more a helper than a scorer. 7 goals isnt shabby for a defenseman, but i think he produces more assists than goals.
Wiz is another Offense first defense never type defenseman. i think he can put up some goals with his cannon of a shot from the point making Johnson and Wiz the best powerplay duo the franchise has ever seen.
Tyutin is who he is. a solid 2 way d-man that can chip in some offense. i think 6 goals is ideal for him
Nikitin is a big wild card for me. is he another Clitsome who had seemingly a break out year only to falter after getting his contract. or is he a legitimate top 5 d-man? i think the answer lies somwhere in the middle. i dont think he will be quite as good as he was last year but i think he establishes himself as a solid top 4 dman. in the league.
Acoin/Moore/Murray/Erixon i think all 4 of these players will see time on the ice and time in the press box on a regular basis. Acoin is an older defense first d-man. i dont think he will chip in much offensively. Moore could see some production if he plays enough games. Murray is just to hard to tell at this point seeing as he hasnt even played a game yet. and Erixon is a top prospect (probably the best prospect in columbus' system) but i think he spends one more year in the AHL with the occasional call up for injury/rest to try to season him a bit and develop him properly.
so with all that said if these predictions are anywhere near accurate columbus is looking at 247 goals this year (3.01 GPG) which would put them 4th in offense this year. i do have a hard time believing that all of those will be accurate and that columbus offense will be that good. how ever i could actually see them potentially being in the top 15 of the league. which perhaps with a little luck and some break out goaltending maybe MAYBE, this team can push for a playoff spot. however there are a lot of question marks for this team, such as Johansons development, Atkinsons break out end of the year (if thats what it was) and Nikitins potential. if the team comes out hard and firing on all cylinders, and the young players develop, this team might be fighting for a playoff spot.
i would like to hear your thoughts on all of this.