With a day off en route to Tampa, Florida, today will be a day to discuss about the NHL All Star Game, the new goalie tandem in Columbus, mid season picks, healthy scratches, playoff format, and trade rumors.
Over the past 48 hours, the National Hockey League has announced the All Star Rosters and coaches and jerseys. Representing the Jackets in the Metropolitan Division include defenseman Seth Jones; goalie Sergei Bobrovsky; and head coach John Tortorella. Bobs making the team was impressive all season, and more dominant in the early showing of the World Cup of Hockey. With Columbus being the top team, Torts being the head coach of the Metro team is the best fit for that. Jones making the team is still surprising as he missed five weeks, and Werenski has shown to be the best defenseman on the club. Looking at the other divisions, with Malkin, Ovi, and Crosby on the same team, the Metro would be the odds on favorite to win, but the Skills Competition will make that difficult.
The Blue Jackets have now made their backup goaltender situation a story. After struggling over the weekend against the New York Rangers, Curtis McElhinney was placed on waivers, and was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs to back up Freddie Andersen. GM Jarmo Kekalainen got on Inside Edge portion of CBJ Radio to discuss his thoughts of the transaction.
On Inside Edge on the CBJ Radio:
"...Curtis is a great pro and real quality person and teammate. Very well liked. Organizationally, we feel last year we were at point where Curtis McElhinney isn't a young goalie anymore. At some point he has to move on. We have two young goalies breathing down his neck...We knew the switch was coming at some point...we had to make a roster move..."
McElhinney has been in Columbus since the year they made the playoffs in 2013-2014. He was 26-33-8 in his career in Ohio. The veteran now joins his sixth team in his career to help a team get into the playoffs and take the workload off a good starter in the limelight.
Anton Forsberg is now the current backup to Sergei Bobrovsky after McElhinney was picked up. Forsberg was the starting goalie with the Cleveland Monsters in their Calder Cup efforts last season, and took the loss in the most recent game against Carolina. In his career, he is 1-9-0-0 in his NHL Career.
With Bobrovsky being ill in their last game, Jonas Korpisalo was the backup to Forsberg last night. Korpi was great last season to relieve Bobs after his mid season injury last year. To me, Korpi has proven at the NHL level that he is the better backup, and could take over Bobs' spot if his game takes a decline.
There has been plenty of discussion as the midway point of the season dawns on Columbus tomorrow night after playing Tampa Bay, and there's been a lot of discussion of Trophy selections. With that said, here are my selections from around the league and internal trophy picks.
Starting with around the league:
Hart: Sidney Crosby (PIT)
Vézina: Devan Dubynk (MIN)
Norris: Brent Burns (SJ)
Calder: Auston Matthews (TOR)
Selke: Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Jack Adams: Guy Boucher (OTT)
Internal Picks (Columbus picks)
Hart: Cam Atkinson
Vézina: Sergei Bobrovsky
Norris: Zach Werenski
Calder: Zach Werenski
Selke: Alex Wennberg
Also, to those to pick John Tortorella as a selection to the Jack Adams, that trophy is a jynx trophy to get that coach fired the next season as that is given to the surprise team. This team is not a surprise team. This is a dominate team that works hard as a group, without much start power besides the goalie.
With the Jackets at the top of the NHL and the Eastern Conference midway through the season, they get to meet the bottom wild card team. Currently, it's the Philadelphia Flyers. Wouldn't that be a fun first round matchup? The New York Rangers would take on the Montreal Canadiens; the Pittsburgh Penguins would face the Washington Capitals; and the Ottawa Senators would face the Boston Bruins. Out West, it would be the Chicago Blackhawks against the Los Angeles Kings; the San Jose Sharks against the Calgary Flames; the Edmonton Oilers would face the Anaheim Ducks; and the Minnesota Wild would face the St. Louis Blues.
As for the healthy scratches, Dalton Prout and Scott Harrington have still been sitting in the press box as of late, but Prout was able to get into the lineup, as a winger because of an illness to Matt Calvert. Harrington has still been in the press box in case of an injury, but is getting a nice paycheck.
As for trade rumors, there was discussion from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch saying they could look for a defenseman in the "5 to 7 range". The one mentioned was former Blue Jacket Francois Beauchemin, according to Eklund of Hockeybuzz. The Avalanche are in trouble and are going to sell off pieces eventually. Also, Ek mentioned Ignila as a veteran forward that could work. Personally, no way. But he also mentioned Calgary and Chicago and Minnesota too. I think Chicago would be the best team for him. Martin Hanzal was mentioned too, but also with Washington and Montreal. Washington makes the most sense as that's a big team and that would fit in better with that system. With most of these rumors, I can't buy into any of them as I like what this roster has now and below. This team doesn't really need to buy. Or sell. Just continue developing in the right way.
Breaking today, the team has announced that Military Appreciation Night will be on January 21st.
One final announcement, on another stretch of days off, I will unveil my Columbus Blue Jackets rumor list. I'm still working on how to do it as I'm thinking of listing asking Price; teams interested; and contract status.
Thoughts on the team and the rest of the league??
Comment thoughts on a rumor list or chart ideas below.
More to come...
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