This week we’re taking a dive into a two-part series, discussing why the Blue Jackets will – or will not – make the playoffs this season.
I find it’s always better to break the bad news first. In this series, we’ll start by covering some of the potential pitfalls for this team, that could prevent them from contending this season. In short, we’re asking this question: what could go wrong for this team?
Obviously, it’s hard to predict where the team might finish the regular season ahead of time. We don’t have a crystal ball to have a glimpse into the future. On paper, this is probably the most talented team the Blue Jackets have ever had, one that should be on the upswing very soon. But as we know, this franchise never seems to find luck, and for that reason (logically), we are all skeptical. So, lets take a look at where things could go haywire in a hurry.
#1 Reason the Blue Jackets don’t contend: time is not on our side.
This is a two-fold statement. First, this team is incredibly young, especially at its competitive core. Sure, they have some solid veteran pieces like Johnny Gaudreau, Boone Jenner, Patrik Laine, and Zach Werenski. They even added some nice pieces to the back end. But, the competitive window for this team only opens when the younger guys are ready to take on bigger roles. Adam Fantilli, Kent Johnson, David Jiricek, Cole Sillinger, and on down the list.
The other side of this equation: even though they added some experience to the blue line, this team has to gel before they’re ready to contend. Even with all of the talent, believe it or not, this takes time. It may not take the entire season, or half of the season, or less; but there will be growing pains in both the age of the players, and their experience together.
This is the main reason I don’t see this team competing for a playoff spot quite yet. The solutions to their issues on the blue line and down the middle are in place, but they’re going to need time to adjust and grow together. This year should be about building a foundation for success, and then next year they should be looking to use that foundation to contend for more.