It's time to fire up the cannon for quarter season thoughts of the Columbus Blue Jackets, as that's where we are right now.
The Jackets are currently 8-14-0 with a grand total of 16 points in 22 regular season games played. Their first eight games were part of a losing streak that ended the coaching career of Todd Richards in Columbus. Not long after his exit, general manger Jarrmo Kekalainen hired John Tortorella, at the expense of a second round draft pick in either 2016, 2017, or 2018.
The arrival of Torts had some players on edge, even those that played with him. Brandon Dubinsky said, "I know I'm going to get benched." Now that hasn't happened yet, and it can't as of now because of injuries. Fedor Tyutin, the highest paid Jackets defenseman, was scratched two games early in Torts start to watch Kevin Connuaton. There was even doubt in the relationship of Ryan Johansen and John Tortorella as some view Joey as undisciplined and lazy.
Now, despite all the doubt, Tortorella has brought success to Columbus, and has them playing (slightly) over 0.500 hockey, even though they are still near the bottom of the league. They are currently 8-6-0 under Torts, and currently rank last in the Eastern Conference. They are also 28th in the league, ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche.
There have been a couple plays with memorable starts to the regular season. In 22 games, Boone Jenner has 11 goals. Brandon Saad has 9 goals. Ryan Johansen leads the team in assists with 12. Ryan Murray has been their defenseman thus far, with 10 points. Goaltending has been mediocre since the arrival of Torts- Bobs has a 0.900 save percentage; McElhinney has a 0.915.
Injuries have returned to this lineup this season. As of right now, there are six players out with injuries- Brandon Dubinsky, David Clarkson, Alex Wennberg, Fedor Tyutin, and Cody Goloubef. Dubinsky is out with an elbow injury and is practicing with the team- meaning he'll be back soon. Clarkson is out with another back injury. Wennberg has been nibbed at by the injury bug all season long. Tyutin will probably be out a couple of games with his broken nose. Goloubef will be out a couple weeks with his broken jaw.
If trends continue the way they do now:
Columbus will finish the season with a 28-52-2 record, finishing near the Auston Matthews spot.
Ryan Johansen will have 16 goals and 48 assists.
Boone Jenner will score 40 goals and have 20 assists.
Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad will have 35 goals.
Nick Folingo will finish with 36 points, way less than last season's career highs.
Cam Atkinson will have another 20 goal campaign.
Ryan Murray will have 40 points.
Some pretty good stats. Let's see how the rest of the season goes. More to come...