Opening night is a week from tonight, with only two audition games remaining before the puck drops in earnest. With the Bruins coming into town, the Blue Jackets are sporting a roster that looks a lot more like the real thing — with a few likely questions remaining.
Here are the projected lines & pairings for tonight:
Boone Jenner -- Brandon Dubinsky -- Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell -- Alexander Wennberg -- Oliver Bjorkstrand
Brandon Saad -- Sam Gagner -- Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert -- William Karlsson -- Josh Anderson
Seth Jones -- Zach Werenski
Ryan Murray -- David Savard
Jack Johnson -- Marcus Nutivaara
Not a bad lineup at all. As we still have two goalies and approximately four other cuts to me made, I’m declaring a moratorium on bitching and moaning over lines and players until a few things are sorted out. Specifically, from where I sit, the following questions remain:
- Does Pierre-Luc Dubois stay or return to juniors? If he stays for some or all of his nine game free look, who is left behind in the interim?
- What do the final three forward slots look like? I don’t see how Milano can be left off, based upon his camp and his overall progress, and Anderson has not impressed. They might be weighing Sedlak vs. Anderson, as Anderson is waiver-exempt, while Sedlak would have to clear, which might be unlikely given his playoff performance for the Monsters.
- What does the final goalie configuration look like? This may be the most intriguing battle of them all, as you can make a case for any of them. CMac is in the last year of his deal, and showed adequately in camp. Korpisalo played very well at the NHL level last season, had a decent camp, but may have been outshone a bit by Forsberg. Do you go with the vet, or send him down to work with the youngsters? Do you go with the more NHL-known commodity in Korpisalo, or ride the hot quantity in Forsberg?
- Will any trades emerge to resolve some of the issues? Nutivaara is looking like the extra defender right now, presuming that Goloubef is still out for a while. What other deals could be looming?
Meanwhile, the Bruins will counter with something approximating the following lineup:
Jake DeBrusk -- Riley Nash -- Seth Griffith
Matt Beleskey -- Austin Czarnik -- Danton Randell
Sean Kuraly -- Dominic Moore -- Noel Acciari
Zac Rinaldo/Jimmy Hayes -- Tim Schaller -- Tyler Randell
John Michael Liles -- Brandon Carlo
Christian Ehrhoff -- Rob O’Gara
Colin Miller -- Joe Morrow