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Cannon Blasts: Roster begins to shape up halfway through preseason

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We can start to predict the opening day lineup

NHL: SEP 19 Preseason - Blue Jackets at Penguins Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With four preseason games in the books and three to go, we’re starting to get an idea of what the Columbus Blue Jackets will look like on October 4. Here’s my projected roster and lines:

Forwards

Alexandre Texier - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson
Gustav Nyquist - Alexander Wennberg - Oliver BJORKSTRAND
Nick Foligno - Boone Jenner - Josh Anderson
Sonny Milano - Riley Nash - Emil Bemstrom
Brandon Dubinsky

Defense

Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara - David Savard
Ryan Murray - Dean Kukan
Scott Harrington - Vladislav Gavrikov

Goalies

Joonas Korpisalo
Elvis Merzlikins

My bold prediction there is that Markus Hannikainen gets waived. The young players Bemstrom and Milano have done more in preseason so far to earn their spots. It’s not a conventional fourth line, but it could be effective in sheltered minutes. On defense, I’m not sure how the bottom two pairs will shake out, but that’s a good problem to have.

Korpi has outplayed Elvis to this point, but Elvis has faced tougher lineups and has played them on the road. Here are the goalie numbers so far:

Korpisalo: 89:05 minutes, 1 goal allowed, 36 saves
Merzlikins: 86:44 minutes, 6 goals allowed, 46 saves

Korpi has gotten more help from the players in front of him, but has also been sharper on the pucks he’s faced. I think he’ll be the “starter” for the early season, but Elvis will get regular appearances (once a week?) to get acclimated to the NHL.

Share your ideal lineup in the comments!

The week that was in Jackets content

Game 1 recap
Game 2 recap
Game 3 recap
Game 4 recap

Dan Rosen of NHL.com reports that the team believes they can continue to be successful despite this summer’s departures.

At The Athletic, Aaron Portzline gave his own roster projections, while Alison Lukan took a deep dive into Wennberg’s stats over the last three seasons.

On last week’s Cannon Cast, we projected the Pacific Division standings and roasted most of the teams. Tonight we’ll record our preview of the Central Division.

Around the League

There were more RFA signings as camps began, with the Philadelphia Flyers signing Travis Konecny, the Vancouer Canucks signing Brock Boeser, and the Ottawa Senators getting a head start on next summer by signing a long term extension with Thomas Chabot.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has not reported to camp, and is considering whether to retire from the game.

You hate to see it

Let’s check on former Jacket Jack Johnson...

Ohio Sports Update

The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-3 to start the season, after another close road loss.

The Sunday Night Football game was garbage to watch as the St. Louis Rams held off the Cleveland Browns, 20-13. Each defense was good, but the offenses were pathetic. Once again the Browns struggled due to a porous offensive line and way too many penalties on both sides of the ball. I now owe MrSwift13 a beer. But I’m going to force him to come down to my neighborhood bar to collect.

Your Believeland Windians remain tied for the second wild card position in the American League after a blowout win last night. It’s going to be an insane final week.

Play me out

Friday marked the release of the first solo album from Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard. It’s been fascinating to watch her career blossom as a singer and a songwriter, from the “jamming on a porch in a Southern summer” sound of Boys & Girls to the sonic cornucopia of Sound & Color to the gritty proto-punk of THUNDERBITCH. I don’t love this new album the way I do Sound & Color (which I think is a perfect album) but there are some worthy highlights. At an efficient 35 minutes, the weaker tracks are over before you can get bored with them. I give her credit for trying different things, and will eagerly await whatever project comes next.