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Cannon Blasts: What will the forward lines look like in 2021?

That and more of this week’s links

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist had surgery in Cleveland on a torn left shoulder. The tear was caused by a cyst, and his recovery time is expected to be five to six months. This timeline means he will miss more than half of the season, whenever that may start.

Nyquist was penciled in as the second line left winger, and his absence opens up a spot for someone else to move up. So, what do we think the lines will look like on Opening Day?

First Line

Alexandre Texier — Pierre-Luc Dubois — Oliver Bjorkstrand

The injury likely does not affect the top line. BJORKSTRAND was the best forward of the regular season, while Dubois was the best of the postseason. Texier showed chemistry with Dubois then.

Second Line

Nick FolignoMax DomiCam Atkinson

This won’t make many of you happy, but I have a feeling that Foligno is the most likely to take Nyquist’s place on this line. The Captain’s offense has fallen off the last two seasons, but in that time he has been deployed more in a defensive role at 5v5. On this line, he could provide defensive coverage for the offense-first Domi. He could also crash the net and tap in rebounds from Domi’s and Cam’s shots on net.

My preferred alternative would be to move Emil Bemstrom to the left side. He seems poised to have a breakout season, as he’s already been scoring a point per game (7G, 5A in 12 GP) in Liiga this fall. That would give the line three players that love to shoot, but Domi has also averaged 0.45 assists per game over his career.

Third Line

Eric RobinsonMikko KoivuBoone Jenner

While called the “third” line it is better to think of this one as the primary shutdown line. That’s the ideal role for a fading veteran like Koivu. Jenner is not great defensively, but could excel in a forechecking role. Foligno was originally supposed to be on this line, but in his place Robinson seems to fit the physical identity of this line and adds a much needed burst of speed to two slower players.

Fourth Line

Pick three of: Riley Nash, Mikhail Grigorenko, Kevin Stenlund, Nathan Gerbe, Emil Bemstrom, Liam Foudy

This line should get more favorable deployment than the third line, but will also get the fewest minutes. Think of the Hartnell/Sedlak/Gagner line of 2016-17. Bemstrom could move up, as described above, and both Grigorenko and Foudy have the talent to play their way into the top 6.

What do you think? Share your lines in the comments.

The week that was

Rookie defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov signed a new three-year contract on Friday. It carries an annual cap hit of $2.8 million and makes him just the third Blue Jacket signed through the 2022-23 season (along with Atkinson and Nyquist).

Elaine answered reader questions about the Cleveland Monsters, other Jackets prospects, and other hockey topics.

Another fascinating guest on the Cannon Cast. This time it was Ed Gingher, the president of the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets. He talks about building a youth hockey program in Columbus, one which has sent multiple alumni to the NHL.

Riley Nash asks a question with an obvious answer, gets chirped by Nick Foligno, then...self-chirps?

Weekly Yegor Chinakhov Update

Chinakhov was named to Team Russia for the Karjala Cup in Finland, and helped his team go 3-0 and put up 11 goals in the process. He assisted on one goal, and added these two beautiful goals:

RIP Alex Trebek

This tweet best sums up the impact that the Alex Trebek era of Jeopardy! had on trivia nerds like myself:

Trebek passed away yesterday at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer. A proud Canadian, Trebek recorded the announcement for one of the Ottawa Senators’ first round picks last month, and before he was a game show host, he covered sports for CBC, including the narration of this highlight package from the 1967 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

It’s also neat to see color footage of that era of NHL hockey. Can you believe they played without helmets?

Ohio PD Sports Update

I love when star football players do the little things right. Like a running back in the middle of a 140 yard, 3 touchdown night also demonstrating expert pass blocking:

Go Irish. I love having both of my college football teams in the top 3 in the country, though the idea of a playoff matchup between them makes me sick to my stomach.

Play me out

Dave Grohl 2024