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Preseason Game 1 preview/open thread: Blue Jackets debut new forwards in Pittsburgh

Hockey is BACK

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday, September 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EDT
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
TV: BlueJackets.com; Radio: 97.1 FM and streaming on the Blue Jackets app
Opponent’s Blog: Pensburgh

We have live hockey tonight! Less than a week after the start of training camp, your Columbus Blue Jackets get their first action against an NHL opponent as they start the first of three straight preseason contests.

Player to watch

Cole Sillinger

The first round pick from July has already made a splash in the Union Blue, as one of the stars of the Baby Jackets’ undefeated run in Traverse City. He has been given a golden opportunity to build on that momentum, as he has spent practice drills and scrimmages on a line with Patrik Laine and Jake Voracek — i.e. what we all expected to be the first line.

Interestingly, tonight’s lineup breaks up the lines and pairs which had played together over the weekend. We don’t know yet how the matchups will play out, but it would not be surprising if Sillinger were re-united with his Traverse City linemate Yegor Chinakhov. Jarmo Kekalainen and his staff have big decisions to make about where those two players start the season, so they will likely play in more pre-season games than the more established veterans.

Jackets notes

Gregory Hofmann and Justin Danforth were veteran forwards signed from Europe (Switzerland and Russia, respectively) and they will both dress tonight. Hofmann has been practicing with Jack Roslovic and Oliver BJORKSTRAND, while Danforth has been with Sean Kuraly and Liam Foudy. Expect Danforth and Foudy to play together with some other center tonight, but Hofmann will get two new linemates.

The Columbus blue line will look very familiar, with returning faces Andrew Peeke, Scott Harrington, and Mikko Lehtonen. Also playing is Adam Boqvist, acquired in the Seth Jones trade. Again, none of these defensemen are playing with their partner from the weekend scrimmages.

Also on defense are recent draftees Stanislav Svozil and Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm. Both played in Traverse City and will get this valuable NHL preseason experience before being sent to their junior teams for the season.

The other bench

There are a minimum number of established NHL players which must play in each preseason game, and tonight’s roster for the host Penguins just barely makes the cut. It’s impossible to see Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, who are both going to miss time in the regular season with injuries. Not much to fear out there, unless you’re really bullish on John Marino or Kasperi Kapanen. Any Chad Ruhwedel or Danton Heinen fanboys out there?

The biggest name on the roster is starting goaltender Tristan Jarry, who had just an average season as the primary netminder in 2021. He had an impressive 25-9-3 record, but a pedestrian .909 SV%. He had a dreadful postseason, with a 3.18 GAA and .888 SV% in a six game first round defeat to the Islanders.

Lineups

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forwards

11 Kevin Stenlund
15 Gregory Hofmann
17 Justin Danforth
19 Liam Foudy
21 Josh Dunne
23 Brendan Gaunce
34 Cole Sillinger
37 Adam Helewka
42 Alexandre Texier
52 Emil Bemstrom
59 Yegor Chinakhov
85 Navrin Mutter

Defensemen

2 Andrew Peeke
4 Scott Harrington
27 Adam Boqvist
43 Mikko Lehtonen
81 Stanislav Svozil
94 Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm

Goaltenders

30 Jean-Francois Berube
60 Jet Greaves

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

9 - Evan Rodrigues
11 - Brian Boyle
18 - Sam Lafferty
22 - Sam Poulin
34 - Nathan Legare
42 - Kasperi Kapanen
43 - Danton Heinen
45 - Jonathan Gruden
49 - Dominik Simon
54 - Felix Robert
61 - Justin Almeida
64 - Jordy Bellerive
82 - Jan Drozg

Defensemen

2 - Chad Ruhwedel
6 - John Marino
32 - Cam Lee
44 - Will Reilly
50 - Juuso Riikola
52 - Mark Friedman
73 - P.O Joseph

Goaltenders

31 - Filip Lindberg
35 - Tristan Jarry