With training camps officially opening up all across the league, and with the World Cup of Hockey in the semifinals, this creates an interesting scenario in Columbus.
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With the USA and North America guys in question of coming straight into camp or taking a couple days off, this gives the youth movement in Columbus more time to impress, besides the Traverse City Tournament.
With Sergei Bobrovsky playing for his country for at least two more games, this gives the goalies more time to impress Tortorella and Madden.
Here are five guys to look at to potentially make the main team out of camp:
1. Zach Werenski. It may seem obvious; however, he did suffer a minor injury in Traverse City, and Columbus did add two veteran defensemen on PTOs with NHL experience. Werenski has to beat out Marc-Andre Bergeron; Keith Aulie; plus guys on the roster in Cody Goloubef and Dalton Prout to crack the roster.
2. Pierre-Luc Dubois. Even though I believe Columbus should send him back to juniors, he is working extremely hard to make this team. Like what they are doing with Werenski, they added Jarett Stoll on a PTO to battle PLD. The Jackets also have centers in William Karlsson; Gregory Campbell; Sam Gagner; Alex Wennberg; and Brandon Dubinsky that he has to beat out. Like Werenski, he may be the best player in Columbus' position, but the Jackets are not giving ice time to anyone, especially under Tortorella's system.
3. Oliver Bjorkstrand. He impressed late last season on the main roster, and with David Clarkson injured, and weaker wingers on PTOs in Patrick Dwyer; Mike Brown; and Aaron Palushaj, Bjork has an easy route to making the NHL this season.
4. Josh Anderson. He has shined in the NHL when coming up to play the past two seasons, and the time for him to make the roster is now. He is a big young forward that will help solidify the bottom six with the absence of David Clarkson.
5. Dillion Heatherington. Potentially Zach Werenski's foul, he is team's next best defensive prospect, and could be ready to make the next step after winning a Calder Cup last season. Like Werenski, there is competition on the back end, and making this team will not be easy.
With the goalies, I feel it doesn't matter who makes it or not because one of them will be injured this season, giving fans time to see a bit more of McElhinney, Korpisalo, or Forsberg this season; it is what usually happens in Columbus anyway for whatever reason.
Here are some other guys to watch during training camp.
1. Sam Gagner. The newest addition to Columbus will have to prove whether he is a top six or top nine forward. He has to compete with Wennberg and Dubi for a better center role.
2. Nick Foligno. After struggling last season, he needs to rebound to where he was prior to signing his big contract to get this team into the playoffs.
3. Boone Jenner. After being snubbed by Team North America at the World Cup, expect him to be more productive on the scoreboard this season, starting at training camp.
4. Seth Jones. With this being his first full season in Columbus after being acquired midseason for Ryan Johansen, expect him to blossom in a top two role this season with Ryan Murray as his partner.
5. Sergei Bobrovsky. Let's cross fingers there's not an injury this season for him, even though anything could happen.
Here is the preseason schedule:
Sunday September 25: @ STL 1pm;
V. STL 7pm
Monday September 26: @ BOS 7pm
Thursday September 29: v. NSH 7pm
Sunday October 2: v. PIT 7pm (NHL-N)
Tuesday October 4: @ NSH 7pm
Thursday October 6: v. BOS 7pm
Saturday October 8: @ PIT 3pm (ROOTS)
Let's get ready for some hockey. What are your thoughts on training camp and preseason hockey action?
More to come…
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