Last season, it was around this time of the year where the team took it upon themselves to not tank and perform up to expectations. The same seems to be happening this year, and it is a great learning curve for the young prospects on this team. However, the difference between last year and this year is new players, injuries, and a new coach.
First up is the players. Last year, this club had Ryan Johansen, Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp, Marko Dano, James Wisniewski, Jeremy Morin, Tim Erixon, Jordan Leopold, Mark Letestu, and Nathan Horton. This year, they have Brandon Saad, Rene Borque, William Karlsson, David Clarkson, Gregory Campbell, Seth Jones, and Joonas Korpisalo helping out.
Also, last year's team had over 509 man games lost. The only two players that played all 82 games last year were Ryan Johansen and David Savard. This year, they have been healthier, but have lost both goalies at the same time this year, leaving Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg to play more on the ice.
Finally, there is the coaching between Todd Richards and John Tortorella. Richie was a player friendly coach who kept taking the heat. Torts gets on the back of players, and benches them. He scratched Tyutin, Hartnell, and (in my opinion) Johansen.
The similarity is the end season effort. Both teams are looking to avoid the bottom of the standings, and show to the fans and the league that they are better than where they are now. The Jackets finished 22nd overall last year, but where will they finish this year?
Which team is better, the 2014-15 season, or the 2015-2016 season? More to come…