October 4, 2018
The regular season for the Blue Jackets opened on the road against the Detroit Red Wings at the Little Caesar's Arena.
The Wings are a team in a full rebuild, focusing on youth as their older players either retire or continue to get injured. The Red Wings lost their captain, Henrik Zetterberg, to a career ending back injury, forcing him to leave his contract three years early. Johan Franzen has not played in three seasons due to a career ending concussion. Defenseman Mike Green is out with an autoimmune disease; while Niklas Knrowall, Jonathan Ericsson, Brian Lashoff, and Trevor Daley are not starting the season due to pre-season injuries.
Over the offseason, the Wings added a significant amount of youth to the roster through the draft. They lost depth players such as goalie Xaiver Oullet to Montreal; winger Eric Tangradi to New Jersey; goalie Jared Coreau to Anaheim; and center Ben Street to Anaheim. They drafted three stud prospects in the Draft, they will help the team now and in the coming years, including winger Filip Zadina with the 6th overall pick; center Joe Veleno, drafted with the Golden Knights first round pick, courtesy of the Thomas Tatar deal; and defenseman Jared McIssac, from the Halifax Mooseheads, is projected to be a Top 4 defenseman at some point this league, and has already signed an entry-level contract with the team.
In free agency, they added goalies Jonathan Bernier and Harri Sateri, who will compete with each other and Jimmy Howard for the number one role with the Wings. Thomas Vanek also came back to the Red Wings, after enjoying some postseason ice time with the Columbus Blue Jackets at the end of the previous season. They also added winger Chris Terry from the Canadiens as a UFA.
With the youth coming in, and the better talent being continued to be ripped off from the roster, I project them to finish 7th in the Atlantic.
With the Blue Jackets, Ryan Murray has been activated off the IR, but Scott Harrington has been placed on the IR with a concussion. Seth Jones is still out with his MCL Sprain.
Mark Letestu signed a one year, two way contract with the club after attending the training camp of the Florida Panthers. He is starting the season with the Cleveland Monsters.
Joonas Korpisalo is starting the first game of the season for the Jackets; expect Sergei Bobrovsky to start tomorrow against Carolina.
Detroit Red Wings
Injured: Zetterberg, Franzen, Erricsson, Lashoff, Knrowall, Daley, Svechnkikov, Green
Columbus Blue Jackets
Scratched: Sedlak, Hannikanen
Injured: Harrington, Jones
Players to Watch
Detroit: Michael Rasmussen. Rasmussen was drafted 8th overall with the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, making the team after one extra season of development in the junior level. Detroit manages to do an outstanding job with scouting and developing their youth, and nothing different with this young power forward.
Columbus: Riley Nash. Nash is playing in his first regular season game with the Union Blue, being the big money add to insure quality center depth to a team that needed it more than other teams around the NHL.