CBJ Post-Game Numero Dos — Double Smashed
Once again, the Columbus Blue Jackets were pushed by the Nashville Predators by a final score of 5-2.
To repeat last night, Columbus scores first again, which was a major issue last season, but now seems to be their Achilles heel. Captain Nick Foligno scored the first goal of the evening.
Rocco Grimaldi evened the game with his first of the season. Ryan Ellis had the lonesome assist in the play.
No goals were scored until the third period, where Fillip Forsberg added his second of the season.
Liam Foudy evened the scoring off a deflected shot from Alex Texier.
Nashville scored three unanswered, with the game winner coming from Brad Richardson for his first of the season. Mattis Ekholm had the assist. Minutes later, Luke Kunin extended the lead with his second of the season. Former Jackets Nick Cousins and Matt Duchene had the assists. Colton Sissons buried the final goal for his first of the campaign with helpers from Victor Arvidsson and Dante Fabbro.
Thoughts on Extensions for Top Line
Prior to the first game of the regular season, the Columbus Blue Jackets was extended two-thirds of their top line to multi-year deals. Firstly, Columbus extended RFA center Pierre-Luc Dubois to a two-year, $10 million dollar deal. Additionally, they extended winger Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year deal, worth $27 million dollars.
Dubois’ deal is a backloaded contract. This year, he is getting $3.35M, and $6.65M in the 2021-2022 season. His cap hit, however, is $5M. He has no protection, in regards to trade or movement power. This effect could have him moved easier in regards to his trade request. There are five players this season getting $5M or more alongside Dubois:
1. RW Cam Atkinson ($5.87M X 5 years)
2. RW Nick Foligno ($5.5M X 1 year)
3. RD Seth Jones ($5.4M X 2 years)
4. C Max Domi ($5.3M X 2 years)
5. LD Zach Werenski ($5M X 2 years)
Dubois is the Jackets’ number one center, beating Domi out during training camp and is still getting paid less due to his lack of experience in the league. Kekalainen’s tough but excellent negotiating has helped his team also stay within the team’s budget.
His two year contract lines him up with almost half this roster with expiring deals. After the 2021-2022 season, here is who is expiring on Columbus:
LW: Jenner, Gerbe, Robinson,
RD: Jones, Kukan
G: Korpisalo, Merzlikins
C: PLD, Foudy
RW: Bemstorm, Fix-Wolansky
LD: Werenski, Carlsson
G: Tasarov, Kivlenieks
This will continue to prove whether Kekalainen will negotiate tough or open the checkbook for the superstar players that come up.
In regards to Bjorkstrand, he will be earning $5.4M beginning next season, and will be the only player on the roster after 5 years. The former third round pick was named a “steal” in a personal conversation between myself and scout Chris Clark in 2015. “He has become a man” according to head John Tortorella in his most recent interview on the CBJ in 30 podcast. The Danish sniper earned 133 points (65G, 68A) in 247 career NHL games (all with Columbus). Bjorky also won the Calder Cup in 2016 with the Cleveland Monsters.
CBJ Game Number 3 @ Detroit—> Road Rage
The Columbus Blue Jackets have an immediate turnaround with a midday matchup in Motown to do battle with the Detroit Red Wings, off their first win last night over Carolina.
The Steve Yzerman era is young in Detroit, and the development of prospects is their key to success. Most prospects are in their taxi squad, as they added picks and veterans through trade and free agency acquisitions over the offseason. Detroit added Vladislav Namestikov, Bobby Ryan, and Riley Barber upfront; Troy Stecher, John Merrill, and Marc Staal on the defense; and Thomas Greiss between the pipes.
Veterans Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader, and Trevor Daley were dismissed by the organization to pursue new opportunities after years of service in Detroit. RFAs Brendan Perlini and Madison Bowey were not qualified and became unrestricted.
Detroit also named Dylan Larkin their first captain since the retirement of future hockey hall of famed Henrik Zetterberg.
Detroit Red Wings
Bertuzzi — Larkin — Mantha
Erne — Namestikov — Zadina
Flippula — Nielsen — Gagner
Brome — Fabbri — Glendenning
Nemeth — DeKeyser
Staal — Stecher
Merrill — Biega
Injured: Zetterberg (back), McIssac, Helm (COVID-19 protocol), Djoos (COVID-19 protocol), Ryan (upper-body)
Taxi Squad: Chowolski, Lindstrom, Smith, Rasmussen, Boyle, Pickard
Columbus Blue Jackets
Scratched: Stenlund, Harrington, Carlsson
Injured: Dubinsky (wrist), Nyqvist (shoulder), Koivu (COVID-19 protocol)
Taxi Squad: Gerbe, Matteau, Peeke, MacInnis, Clendenning, Kivlenieks