Blue Jackets 2013-2014 Roster: Locked and Loaded
As we head into the final week of training camp, the Jackets have made the final cuts, sending eight players down to the AHL, while the rest of the club prepares to open the 2013-2014 season against Calgary on Friday.
Yesterday, the Blue Jackets made their final roster decisions, and barring any injury or illness in the next four days, we know who has made the roster, and who will start the season in Columbus on October 4th.
Jack Skille, Cody Goloubef, Michael Chaput, Ryan Craig, Jeremy Smith, Mike McKenna, and Ilari Melart were all assigned to Springfield by the club, with Skille, Goldbeef, Smith, Craig, and McKenna clearing waivers today.
That means that both Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner have made the club, starting their NHL careers, and both Tim Erixon and David Savard will remain in Columbus, rotating in and out of the 7th D spot. (Though if Nikita Nikitin hasn't completely recovered from the foot injury that kept him out of several exhibition games, I wouldn't be shocked if both D-men are dressed on Friday.)
Not shockingly, head coach Todd Richards intends to keep Jenner with Dubinsky and Gaborik, while Murray appears slotted in next to James Wisniewski.
Assuming everyone is ready to go on Friday, here's the likely roster for Friday night:
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Marian Gaborik
R.J. Umberger - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno
Matt Calvert - Artem Anisimov - Cam Atkinson
Blake Comeau - Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu
Fedor Tyutin - Jack Johnson
James Wisniewski - Ryan Murray
Nikita Nikitin - Dalton Prout
Injured / Scratched: Jared Boll, Nathan Horton, Cody Bass, David Savard
On paper, this is a really interesting roster, but also one with a lot of questions. Is that "second line" a true second line, or will the Cam/AA/Calvert line be used more in that role? Will Jenner continue to blossom next to his all star linemates? Will Murray handle the second pairing well? How will the fourth line work at driving the play?
Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room remains the question of what happens once Nathan Horton is ready to play. It's one thing to swap out, say, Comeau for Boll. This will potentially shake up the entire roster once the time comes, and I wouldn't be shocked to see a trade involved to open a roster spot.
For now, though, it's time to get a little more excited. The team is set, and the season is just days away.