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Shrapnel - 7/17/11

The quiet season is settling in, but there are still a few bits and pieces out there amid the speculation. On the Jackets' front, Aaron Portzline has a great look at the recently re-signed Aaron Johnson and his hockey journey returning to Columbus.

I look forward to Aaron taking his best shot at the 6/7 positions. He's a good guy with a great attitude, and he certainly seems excited for what the Blue Jackets could become. Plus, honestly, I think the more competition for the blue line, the better. It's my hope that guys like Grant Clitsome, Kris Russell, Johnson, David Savard, Nick Holden, and John Moore will use that battle for the roster to sharpen their edges and push themselves.

In other NHL news, the Devils agreed to an ELC with 4th overall pick Adam Larsson, making him potentially eligible to make his NHL debut this year rather than returning to his SEL team for another season.

LTL gives us a look at James Wisniewski's potential "X Factor"

Is Kiril Kabanov cleaning up his act and getting in on time in hopes of a shot at making the Islanders?

Something different and interesting - the Jackets are offering a fan a chance to sit in on the Jeff Carter / James Wisniewski press conference this week. That's an opportunity you don't see every day. It's nice to see the team doing more interesting ways of geting fans involved and excited during the offseason.

PHT is wondering if Karl Alzner is a bellweather on the lack of offer sheets this offseason, and if there's a reason nobody has been throwing those around despite such high level talent potentially available.

When the American League added a Central Division, the Indians were one of the teams fighting hardest to be added to it. It lead to a long string of successes for the Tribe, perhaps even paving the way to this year's hard travellin' heroes. Could a similar realignment in the NHL lead to success for the Jackets as well?

The Calgary Flames broke a local artist's heart when they were knocked out of the postseason race, so he expressed himself around Calgary. Very cool.

Niklas Hagman appears to be on the way out in Calgary. One the one hand, he's making $3 million this year, and had a fairly disappointing showing last season. On the other, his previous three seasons were all 20+ goal, 40+ point performances between Dallas, Toronto, and Calgary. If Howson isn't satisfied with the free agent options to replace Juice, he might be a low risk trade idea.