Yesterday, we touched on six top prospects and their odds of making the Columbus Blue Jackets ahead of the season opener. Today, we’ll look at six players at risk of losing their jobs at training camp.
We’ll kick things off with probably the most contentious of our choices: center Jack Roslovic. It’s not that he’s a bad player, or really even that he had a bad season last year. It’s just that he always leaves us wanting so much more. You can see the talent, but he never seems to put it all together consistently enough.
He’s super streaky offensively, and the unfortunate thing about his game is that he doesn’t bring much (anything) else to the table. He’s a mess defensively. He’s not a penalty killer. He’s not great in the faceoff circle. He doesn’t forecheck. So in those regular 4+ game stretches where he’s not producing, you only notice him at times when he stands out for the wrong reasons.
The Blue Jackets have two very promising rookie centers competing for jobs this fall in Adam Fantilli and Dmitri Voronkov. While it’s entirely possible that someone can move to the wing and you can keep them all around; the depth situation on the wings means that the Blue Jackets will need to cut ties with someone. Unfortunately, there aren’t any easy cuts there, either. The team is loaded with quality young players battling for those jobs. It’s a tough situation.
To top it off, Roslovic makes $4 million against the cap this year, in the final year of his contract. I have a really hard time seeing the team extend him beyond this season, which makes him a prime trade target for a team looking for a depth scoring center. In short, nearly every contending team in the league might be interested, depending on the price. Still, I think Jack probably makes the cut, mostly because he is still a productive player, even with his pitfalls. Chance Roslovic is on the team: 95%.
Yegor Chinakhov is another guy who finds himself in a tough spot. He was injured for a lot of last season, then finished his year in the AHL, where he was able to regain some scoring confidence. But even before his injury, I thought Yegor was starting to really come on strong, playing quality two-way hockey.
His release makes him a dangerous scoring threat from anywhere in the offensive zone. For that reason, I thought Chinakhov would be a prime breakout candidate with you-know-who as the head coach. But as it stands, with Pascal Vincent taking over, Yegor is a known entity who should be able to crack the lineup because of that shot, his size, and all-around game. I had him penciled into the third line in our season preview series, and I still think he’ll have the inside track for that role.
With that said, he’s in a battle for his job with a big handful of other guys. I like his chances when you stack him up against some of the other wingers battling for bottom-six minutes. But if both Fantilli and Voronkov both make the team, someone is getting moved to the wing. And Chinakhov could be the odd man out, if the team decides they have enough scoring depth at that point. He’s a player to watch over the next couple of weeks, for sure. Chance Chinakhov is on the team: 70%.