A Collection of CBJ Thoughts - Wennberg, Draft, Winter Classic and More

Thirteen discussion points pertaining to the Jackets. What to do with Wennberg? A Winter Classic in Columbus? Some Free Agents to talk about.

A collection of thoughts:

  • Scott Hartnell has been a great addition to this team, but I think you knew that already. Through all the injuries, he's been a consistent veteran presence who's been exactly as-advertised: scoring ugly goals, getting under opponent's skin, and making room for his linemates. I don't think there's any CBJ fan that wouldn't do the trade all over again. Hartnell is currently sitting with 5-9-14 in 15 games; while R.J. Umberger has 1-2-3 in 14 games played and has earned the scorn of the Philly fanbase.
  • The Jackets have five key players who will be free agents at the end of this season- Nick Foligno, Mark Letestu, Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson and Sergei Bobrovsky. One would think that the negotiations with Letestu shouldn't be difficult, as he was a fringe player with Pittsburgh who's found a home with the Jackets. Calvert and Atkinson are RFAs who will get raises. Foligno is off to a hot start and is looking like a player who has adopted the role of "conscience" of the team, epitomizing what a Blue Jacket is supposed to be. He's currently at a cap hit of slightly more than $3 million, and is a UFA for the first time. If the Jackets are wise they will start negotiating sooner, rather than later to ensure he doesn't hit the open market. I can see a raise to the $4.5 million AAV area, which at this point would be worth every penny. Bobrovsky's new deal will be interesting. It's obvious that he's the team's MVP, and he'll be looking for a raise on his current AAV of $5.625 million. The question is, does he take Carey Price money ($6.5 million AAV) or will he paid like Tuukka Rask or Pekka Rinne ($7 million AAV)? I think it will be closer to the latter, and hopefully not close to the Henrik Lundqvist AAV of $8.5 million. All numbers are courtesy of Cap Geek, of course.
  • It's early, but it still sucks to see things like this. The old adage is that you can't blame losing on injuries, but when you have nine regulars out, it's pretty clear that you can blame injuries for the team's fall in the standings.
  • The bottom six deployed last game was Corey Tropp - Alexander Wennberg - Adam Cracknell, Dana Tyrell - Michael Chaput - Jared Boll. What you see there amounts to two AHL lines, and a quick scan of the Corsi numbers from that game showed that they did nothing to help the team win: they were a combined -30. Only Tropp had a positive Corsi at +2. Full advanced stats from that game can be found here.
  • The Springfield Falcons are currently 11th in the 15 team Eastern Conference of the AHL, but one can't forget that half of their team is currently in the NHL. It's great to see defense prospect Austin Madaisky leading the Birds in scoring, but it's also not great to see him leading the Birds in scoring, if you catch my drift.
  • Kerby Rychel update: he's got 3-3-6 in 14 games. A full season in the AHL will be the best course of action for his development, ditto for Marko Dano.
  • There's so much season left, but I can't help but think about the 2015 draft. In years previous, the Jacket's potential first round draft pick was a season-long discussion, but recently that kind of talk has been pushed aside until after the season ended. Maybe it's because the 2015 draft is supposed to be one of the best in years, or maybe it's because part of me thinks the team has dug itself in too deep a hole to recover from, but either way if the team has a top-five pick they will get themselves a special player. If this does turn out to be a lost season, the team can quickly become competitive again next year, but at that time they will be armed with a potential stud in the pipeline. I still think the team will work its way out of the Connor McDavid / Jack Eichel zone, but a top five pick could net them Noah Hanifin (stud defender), Oliver Kylington (stud defender) or one of Pavel Zacha or Dylan Strome (stud forwards).
  • It's been talked about before, but how great would a Winter Classic game at Ohio Stadium be? Make it Jackets-Penguins so the league and the TV networks are happy. It may take a successful hosting of the All-Star Game and another playoff series or two like last year for it to become a done deal, but it's not a ridiculous proposition.
  • Speaking of the Winter Classic, how nice are the Caps' specialty sweaters? I can only imagine what the Jackets could come up with if they were involved. Maybe a time to play with a grey sweater? Anything but red.
  • 2014 First Round Pick Sonny Milano has now played 7 games for Plymouth of the OHL, currently sitting with a line of 1-10-11. The goals will come, but it's great to see him putting up points.
  • Once (if?) the team becomes fully healthy, and continues to struggle, it may be the perfect time to swing for the fences and pull of a big trade. Evander Kane?
  • David Savard is having a breakout year. The former CHL defenseman of the year has been a bright spot in an otherwise ugly defense corps this year. I'd like to see him paired with a healthy Ryan Murray to see what could happen.
  • Wennberg is sitting at a -13, currently dead last in the NHL. He's yet to score a goal, and due to necessity, is still on the roster. As soon as a center is activated, hopefully this week (Anisimov?) he should be sent down to Springfield. He's the prospect gem of the organization, his development simply must not be mishandled.

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