The Southern road trip for the Blue Jackets commences with a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the youthful Hurricanes. This is their first meeting of the season, and all three season meetings will be happening in the next 11 days. Crazy, isn't it? But that's how the schedule works.
Flashing back to the offseason, here's a quick look at what the Canes have done to their roster. They let plenty of expiring contracts go to the open market, including Nathan Gerbe (SWI); Riley Nash (BOS); Brad Malone (WSH); and Chris Terry (MTL). They also made an interesting deal with the Panthers by shipping Brody Sutter. They acquired winger Connor Brickley from the Panthers in that trade. They also acquired Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. They drafted offensive defenseman Jake Bean with their first round selection in June. They also signed Michael Leighton; Viktor Stalberg and Lee Stempniak as UFAs. They also claimed Ty Rattie and Klas Dahlbeck off waivers.
Currently, the Hurricanes have been a young rising team, chasing the Flyers for the final wild card spot. They have had solid goaltending all season from Cam Ward, and have been seeing some members of their young defensive core develop. Up front, they have witnessed what Sebastian Aho has done for them in their rookie season.
Jeff Skinner--Victor Rask--Derek Ryan
Brock McGinn--Jordan Staal--Elias Lindholm
Sebastian Aho--Teuvo Teravainien--Lee Stempniak
Joakim Nordstrom--Jay McClement--Viktor Stalberg
Ron Hainsey--Justin Faulk
Jacob Slavin--Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin--Matt Tennyson
Scratched: Ty Rattie, Klas Dahlbeck
Injured: Eddie Lack, Bryan Bickell
Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon Saad--Alex Wennberg--Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner--Brandon Dubinsky--Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert--William Karlsson--Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell--Lukas Sedlak--Sam Gagner
Zach Werenski--Seth Jones
Jack Johnson--David Savard
Markus Nutivarra--Ryan Murray
Scratched: Scott Harrington, Dalton Prout
Injured: David Clarkson, Sergei Bobrovsky
Players to Watch
Carolina: Jeff Skinner. The former first round pick of 2010 was over a 20 goal scorer and an NHL All Star in the past. With concussion issues in the past, and this team being a young team on the rise, Skinner has to become more offensively productive for his team to succeed.
Columbus: Jack Johnson. The former first round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes returns back to Raleigh to take on the team that drafted him. Being the oldest defenseman on the roster, he has been steady all season, but not as offensively productive as he was last season.
Other News and Notes
Goalie Curtis McElhinney has been claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He will now be the backup of Frederick Andersen. The question for Big Mac is how he will rebound after struggling in his last game as a Blue Jacket in the Blue and White. Best of luck to McElhinney and what happens next for him.
Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky have been named NHL All Stars. The All Star Game will be happening in Los Angeles, CA, later this month. They are part of the Metropolitan Division squad for a tournament of 3 on 3 hockey. Personally, I liked both formats of the All Star Game. The old format was more open hockey with high scoring games. The 3 on 3 games are more competitive, which is what the league wants to happen to represent them. Also, I'm surprised that Zach Werenski was not selected to be on the roster. Jones was taken over him. Werenski had been the better defenseman as we near the midway point, and could win the Calder Trophy.
What are your thoughts on the recent moves?
BREAKING: According to reports, Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for tonight's matchup due to illness. Jonas Korpisalo has been recalled from the Cleveland Monsters. Anton Forsberg will be the starter.
Enjoy the games tonight...
More to come...
Notes: Fans, for more information on me and for updates of the game, follow me on Twitter @djzmac12161