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Game Preview #70 - BJORKSTRAND. THAT IS ALL.

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Let the unrealistic expectations commence! (Also, that is not all. I have things to say about things. And stuff.)

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jackets vs. Red Wings
7:00 PM -
Game Faceoff

With all of the forward prospects the Blue Jackets have marinating in the AHL and below, it's sometimes hard to decide which has the brightest future. For many of us, the future of BJORKSTRAND (nee, Oliver Bjorkstrand) cannot come quickly enough. After being selected in the 3rd round of 2013 following a solid 30/30 season in Portland, BJORKSTRAND exploded in the following two years in the WHL, to the tune of:

Regular Season
128 games, 113 goals, 114 assists, 227 points

Playoffs
38 games, 29 goals, 29 assists, 58 points

So, yeah, if you're scoring at home, that's a combined two final seasons of junior hockey with 142 goals... in 166 games. 285 points, or 1.72 points per game. I mean, f**k, man. Thereafter, he was, is, and will always be simply known as BJORKSTRAND.

Not bad, for a third round pick.

Fighting an injury in his first pro season, he's turned in a respectable 15/10/25 in 46 games. He's about to turn 21, and will be making his NHL debut tonight. And, unlike some of his AHL compatriots, he'll be going straight into a top six role.

Why not? The kid's never going to be a grinder. And, lest we think this is a one-shot deal, not so fast:

The bigger question I have is this: with the influx of young guys for tonight's game as well as the lineup tinkering (Jenner as #1 center, anyone?), it's clear the CBJ are now firmly into "next year" mode. It begs the question, however: why did they wait so damn long to get there?

I like watching my team win. We've had this discussion about "tanking" over and over. I guess my question is: why are we waiting to do this until game #70? The Jackets have been out of it since December. Hell, since game eight, technically.

The only answer I can come up with--and it's arguably a good one--is that the team needed time to have some flavor, recharge the batteries, shut down the engines, and get themselves back to neutral under Tortorella. Perhaps now that they've seen some improvement, they decided it's time to plug some of the young guys back in.

Anything that gives us a lineup without Rene Bourque, Jared Boll, and David Clarkson, I'm all for it.

Projected Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets
(28-33-8, 64 Points; 8th division, 15th conference)

Brandon Saad Boone Jenner Cam Atkinson
Brandon Dubinsky Alexander Wennberg BJORKSTRAND
Scott Hartnell William Karlsson Nick Foligno
Gregory Campbell Michael Chaput Matt Calvert
Ryan Murray Seth Jones
Cody Goloubef David Savard
Justin Falk John Ramage
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

Detroit Red Wings
(34-25-11, 79 Points; 4th Division, 9th Conference)

Justin Abdelkader Henrik Zetterberg Dylan Larkin
Tomas Tatar Pavel Datsyuk Anthony Mantha
Gustav Nyquist Riley Sheahan Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm Luke Glendening Brad Richards
Danny DeKeyser Kyle Quincey
Brendan Smith Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson Alexey Marchenko
Jimmy Howard
Petr Mrazek