With the Columbus Blue Jackets season kicking off in just over two weeks, player props and odds are starting to come out ahead of the regular season. Today, let’s take a look at who is expected to have a big year for the Blue Jackets and discuss if they will hit the over this season.
Regular Season Goals
Johnny Gaudreau: Over 31.5, -115; Under 31.5 -115
Gaudreau is pegged at roughly 31 goals for his new club next year. This seems a bit high for Gaudreau, even if he is coming off a 40 goal year. Gaudreau has only gone over 31 twice in his career, in 2018-19 and 2021-22.
Patrik Laine: Over 31.5, -115; Under 31.5 -115
Laine has hit 31 goals just twice in his career (his first two seasons), but was on a 38 goal pace last year with worse playmakers next to him and missing a chunk of games due to familial losses and other injuries. Were gambling legal in the state of Ohio, your author would throw boatloads of money on the Laine over for goals this season.
Regular Season Points
Johnny Gaudreau: Over 85.5, -115; Under 85.5, -115
Gaudreau has gone over 85 points twice in his career, in 2021-22 and 2018-19 (along with an 84 point season in 2017-18). It should be noted Gaudreau’s biggest points seasons have coincided with his three best seasons by shooting percentage in his career. If Gaudreau is putting the puck in the net early and often, 85 points is suddenly in play. The Blue Jackets have had just one 85 point season in their history (Panarin, 87 points in 2018-19) so if Gaudreau approaches 80, he is in rarified air.
Top Goal Scorer
Favorite: Auston Matthews, +190
Blue Jackets on the board: Patrik Laine, +7000; Johnny Gaudreau +9000
Gaudreau is certainly a long shot for this distinction, given how rarely he has hit 30 goals in his career (just three times). But if he can play playmaker for Patrik Laine, Laine has a puncher’s chance at the honor of top goal scorer. Laine, with a career high 44 goals, could easily find space at both even strength and on the power play, to bury puck after puck with Gaudreau drawing attention.
Favorite: Connor McDavid, +250
Blue Jackets on the board: Johnny Gaudreau +3000
McDavid is easily the favorite. He is the most talented player in hockey, will play a full season with Evander Kane, play in a weakened division, and has won it twice already. McDavid is a perennial candidate. However, Hart voting often comes down to narrative and teams outperforming expectation. If the Blue Jackets are in the playoff hunt and Gaudreau has a monster season (a la Taylor Hall for the Devils several years ago), Gaudreau absolutely will have a chance at the award.
Favorite: Igor Shesterkin, +250
Blue Jackets on the board: Elvis Merzlikins, +10000
The longest shot Blue Jacket on the board, Elvis has a lot to prove going into this season. Behind a subpar blue line, Elvis was not able to elevate the roster as the team surrendered a franchise record goals against in 2021-22. Elvis has to have a bounce back year for the team to have a chance at the playoffs, but even a bounce back year wouldn’t get him to Vezina tier. Elvis would have to transcend in the way vintage Sergei Bobrovsky used to in order to have a shot at the award.
James Norris Trophy
Favorite: Cale Makar, +135
Blue Jackets on the board: Zach Werenski, +7500
Makar is 23 years old and is the best defenseman on the defending Stanley Cup Champions. He was chasing down McDavid on breakaways and knocking the puck away in last spring’s playoffs. He’s absurdly talented. Werenski is the best defenseman on the roster and probably in the organization, but he is not on that level. Werenski could theoretically have a great year, but his career high in points is 48. Makar, again at 23, had 86 points, won the Norris and Conn Smythe last year. Werenski is not contending with defensemen in that tier. Oh, and he makes more than Makar annually against the cap.
Favorite: Owen Power, +450
Blue Jackets on the board: Kent Johnson, +1200
Johnson has the 4th best odds to win the Calder (behind Power, Mason McTavish, and Matty Beniers), but he has a legit path. Johnson has been centering Laine and Gaudreau in scrimmages this training camp. If he earns that spot long term (and, having seen it in person, he has the foot speed, skill, and work ethic for all 200 feet to do it), he could put up a monster year that is required. He has added size and definition to his frame and has a cup of coffee in the league, so he knows what it takes. Johnson certainly has a path to the Calder.
What awards do you think CBJ players can win this year? Sound off below!