This is a list of 15 things to remember from the Columbus Blue Jackets through a bizzare year for the franchise.
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The Big Bonus: The NHL All-Star Game. This was such an amazing thing for the city. The cannon going off after each goal scored. The festivities in the NWA and around the arena. It just boosts the city and shows that they can be a big hockey city. The World Cup later this year is just adding to the excitement in Columbus for big things to come to the city.
1. The Acquisition of Brandon Saad- Adding a star to your roster is a plus, but potentially creating a one-two combo makes your team's offense more deadly. Saad and Johansen together could make this team a cup contender in a couple years. Plus, the fact he is a Pittsburgh native adds to the intensifying rivalry between the Jackets and the Penguins.
2. The Hiring of John Tortorella. Torts coming to Columbus may be a short term thing, but he may have more success than many may think. If he gets back to his routes from Tampa, this team might lift Lord's Stanley. Besides that, he is a figure across for his league for his words to the media in regards to calling out his own guys or the opposition.
3. The Firing of Todd Richards. Richie's departure may have impacted the morale of some players on the roster, including Brandon Dubinsky. Duber got along really well with the coach. His loss leaves him in a currently small list of unemployed coaches in the league.
4. 13 Game Point Streak. One of the biggest highs in the franchise's history, the Blue Jackets went on a 13 game point streak near the end of the 2014-2015 season, which wound up lowering the draft selection from a lottery pick to the eighth pick.
5. 8 Game Losing Streak. One of lowest lows in the club's history, the club started 0-8-0 to start the 2015-2016 season. This early downward resulted involved a firing in the old head coach the hiring of the current bench boss.
6. Captain Nick Foligno. Foligno became the club's sixth captain which has a couple skilled guys in the past including Rick Nash and Ray Whitney.
7. The Rookie Netminders. The arrival of rookie goalies have the Jackets excited in the fact they may be deeper than they expected or than anyone expects. This is just a start, and hopefully not an end.
8. Drafting Werenski. The American captain for the World Juniors and a current Michigan Wolverine, he is the answer for the Jackets' defensive issues that have been the weakness of this club for years. Him coming at the 8th pick shows that defensemen are not being taken extremely early in drafts, but a little later on in the event.
9. The Wisniewski Trade. At the 2015, the Jackets traded their most expensive and offensive defenseman in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for Rene Borque, William Karlsson, and a second round pick (Kevin Stenlund). Borque's salary was the only the Ducks would take Wiz in a trade, so Columbus took him. Wild Bill is the prospect of the trade, as he was expected to stick in the minors a while longer, but both Torts and Richie were impressed with his efforts during the regular season, so he stuck around. Stenlund is looking to develop in his home country, and that seems to be working out for him right now.
10. The Ryan Johansen Saga. The nonsense and the trade rumors of a clubs number one forward are something to not highly put stock into, which is why I have this so low. He is a driving force for the Blue Jackets' offensive production; however, management and coaching isn't impressed with his defensive effort and ability to get to the bench after a hard 45 second effort on the ice.
11. Boone As Alternate. Boone becoming an alternate is a confidence builder for a young productive forward, and with the high discussion of him being the next captain is a big deal for the Blue Jackets and for the young center. Jenner, according to the Dispatch, was expected to be named captain, but because the Jackets were concerned with the pressure of the "C" on a young kid, gave it to Foligno, for now.
12. Lake Erie Monsters. Ohio United is the headline for this as the Blue Jackets relocated their farm club to Cleveland. This helps the young guys as they know their trip to the big club is far away, and expect many more guys to be coming from the farm in the coming years.
13. Drafting Paul Bittner. This may not be a big deal now, but his chemistry with Danish winger Oliver Bjorkstrand will make them a combo to watch for years in Columbus.
14. Prospects Going Overseas. The termination of Austin Madisky and the loaning of Oscar Dansk puts the club a couple steps behind in terms of their depth, and puts the question of "whose next?" in the back of everyone's minds.
15. Rychel Rumors. Prospect Kerby Rychel has been in trade rumors all summer, and are picking up steam again in early 2016. He is a talented kid that carried the Guelph Storm on his back a couple years back. The problem is there is a lot of depth on the wing in this roster. Let's see what he does.
More to come…
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