Training camp is well under way for the Blue Jackets, with many fans hopeful that the team can make a playoff push this season. While the club did improve, there are still holes in the lineup and questions that will need to be answered. More importantly, it should be noted that nearly every other team in the division made offseason moves to improve as well. Today we’ll give a quick rundown of each Metro Division foe’s offseason moves, and what we might be able to expect from them this year.
2021-22 Record: 54-20-8 (116pts)
Goal differential: 278-202 (+76)
Key Additions: C Paul Stastny, LW Max Pacioretty, D Brent Burns, RW Ondrej Kase
Key Subtractions: C Vincent Trocheck, D Tony DeAngelo, LW Nino Niederreiter
The Canes won the division by six points last season, finishing with the third best record in the NHL on the backs of a stingy team defense that gave up the fewest goals in the league. They’ll return mostly the same team from last year, but with some familiar veteran faces added to an already talented group.
They lost second line center Vincent Trocheck, but have a variety of options to replace that role; including returnees Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Martin Necas, or Jordan Staal – or perhaps an up and coming rookie like Jack Drury. Adding Paul Stastny ensures that they will still have strong depth in the bottom six, as well as some secondary scoring. Max Pacioretty is one of the game’s most consistent goal scorers, and he’ll join a team who desperately needed a goal scorer last year. While he will miss the first several months of the season due to an achilles injury, his addition to the lineup for the playoff run will make this team a serious Cup contender.
On the back end, they lose one of the game’s most disliked stars in Tony DeAngelo; but replace him with one of the game’s most beloved in Brent Burns. This seems like an easy win for this team; Burns brings a lot of the same offensive elements to the game, but also adds size, leadership, and an infectious veteran presence to the lineup. The Canes quietly had one of the best defense corps in the league in 2021-22, and may even be better this year.
In goal, the reigning Jennings Trophy winning tandem of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta returns. When healthy, this is a very capable duo, each capable of stealing games. This team should again be hard to score on, but with some added offensive punch. They are easily the preseason favorite to win the division this year.