The days have been hot, muggy and sweaty. Travels were had, laughter was shared, and I bet you you got sand in places you a.) didn’t want to and b.) didn’t realize you had.
Then, life slowly began to return, but something was...missing. Nothing felt right.
Nothing, that is, until today.
Because the hockey season is officially back, baby.
If there’s any bad news to be found today, its in the fact that we still have to wait another two-plus days for the Blue Jackets to be back in action. But that’s okay - we made it this far, what’s another couple of sleeps?
Before we dive into the links, I’d like to throw out a couple of predictions as we begin to embark on this adventure together.
1.) While I think they chase it, I don’t think Columbus is a 100-point team again.
That isn’t to say this team wont be good - I think we are in for another heckuva season. It’s just...100 point seasons, especially in a division like the Metro, are hard, yall. And, granted, a lot of this feeling is predicated on the fact that CBJ have never had consecutive 100-point campaigns, and I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. I just don’t see it in the cards.
Speaking of cards,
2.) Vegas wont be the worst team in the NHL this year.
Mostly because the Colorado Avalanche exist, and I don’t think they’ve really improved too much for this year. And, from having some conversations with some hockey friends of mine who are way smarter than I am, they aren’t too hot on the Canucks this year, either. So, screw it, lets say I think Vegas finishes between Arizona and Vancouver.
Don’t get me wrong, Vegas is going to be very not good, but not historically bad, either.
3.) The Blue Jackets will have production from a more concentrated number of players
Last year, the Jackets saw 12 double-digit goal scorers. That’s an an insane amount of double-digit goal scorers. It’s great, and it’s part of what made last year’s squad so much fun, you never knew who was going to go off.
This year, though, I think we see some guys take more control when it comes to shooting the puck, and not in a bad way. Instead of six guys hovering around 10-13 goals, I think we see maybe three or four 10-13 goal scorers, while also seeing two-three guys in the 23-27 goal range.
I also think this year we see two 30-goal scorers: Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson.
And, my final prediction of the year,
4.) The Blue Jackets will win their first playoff series*
That’s right. This will be the year the Jackets finally do it. And, they’ll do it against a team from the Atlantic Division. Maybe Ottawa?
*This is predicated on the fact that the Jackets don’t play Pittsburgh again. And, I’m not saying they wont beat them this time, I’m just saying I want to see CBJ play literally anyone else.
Happy Hump Day.
Columbus Blue Jackets news
- Yesterday it was made officially official: the Jackets inked Josh Anderson to a three-year contract.
- The Jackets also finalized the Opening Night, 23-man roster. They’ll be going 13 forwards and eight defensemen deep.
- Part of that initial 23-man roster? Former Ohio State Buckeye Zac Dalpe.
- With Portzy’s move to The Athletic, the Columbus Dispatch has a new pen on the beat. Go give George Richards a welcome.
National Hockey League news
- As the country, and the NHL’s newest city, continue to heal following the tragedy in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights and the NHL are making a joint donation to Las Vegas first responders.
- Got a last-minute fantasy draft to worry about? NHL.com has some preseason standouts to consider.
- Jack Eichel is a rich, rich, rich man. He has signed an eight-year, $80 million extension with Columbus’ biggest rival, Buffalo.
- I feel Anaheim Calling’s John Broadbent. Attending a game of my favorite team is a rarity. I envy those of you who can just stroll on over to Nationwide to take in a Jackets’ game, even if its a preseason one. But, what I can’t imagine doing, is doing so after traveling to the states from New Zealand. (Also, John, if you’re reading this, I have adopted New Zealand as my cricketing nation. I’d love to visit some time and take in a match - can you house me?)
- TSN’s Frank Seravalli has bold predictions for all 31 teams and his prediction for Columbus is, indeed, bold.
- There was a trade yesterday, and it was a barn burner! Derrick Pouliot is going to Vancouver from Pittsburgh for Andrey Pedan and a 2018 fourth-round pick. The Canucks stole this from the Pens, if you ask me. Flat out highway robbery.
- The SBNation hockey crew spills their five bold predictions. Spoiler alert: they and I share a prediction that I swear I predicted before I read this.
- Congrats to the New York Yankees for winning this year’s AL Wild Card game. Your reward? A date with the defending AL champs in the Cleveland Indians.
- The NBA is taking a page out of the NHL’s playbook, if you can believe, and they’re switching from the traditional East v. West All-Star match up to the good ol’ fantasy draft! Honestly, it makes sense; the power imbalance in the West is unbelievable right now. I don’t see this being the format for long, but I’ll be shocked if we go back to the old way soon (five-ish years).
- The Jets should be tanking. They either have other ideas or just aren’t very good at it.
- If you’re a fan of a horrid NBA team, like myself (lol go Hawks), what are the 15 funnest teams you want to keep an eye on as your team goes down the tube?