The Columbus Blue Jackets host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at Nationwide Arena, as part of the NHL’s “Frozen Frenzy.”
It’s an experimental day of hockey for the NHL, with all 32 teams taking the ice at staggered times. The Blue Jackets are set for a 6:30 puck drop this evening, with ESPN bouncing between all 16 games throughout the night. It will be interesting to see how the viewership works out for this, seeing as they decided to have this take place on an early season Tuesday night.
Highlighting tonight’s game in Columbus is the first ever matchup featuring the most recent #2 and #3 overall picks at the NHL Draft: Leo Carlsson and Adam Fantilli. The Ducks opted to take the big Swede second overall ahead of Fantilli, and so far their decision looks to be paying off. Though he’s appeared in just two games, Carlsson has averaged over 20 minutes per game, playing on the top line for the Ducks. He has one goal, six shots, and a +2 rating in those games.
🚨 FIRST NHL GOAL FOR ADAM FANTILLI! 🚨 pic.twitter.com/CYd6JJASV3
— NHL (@NHL) October 22, 2023
Carlsson’s smart two-way game seems to be the perfect fit for them on their current top line; with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry both being highly productive offensive players. They have a nice balance with this trio, who seem to have developed a quick chemistry on the ice.
Their decision to pick the big Swede also helped the Blue Jackets. Stylistically, Fantilli was the guy a lot of us wanted to see in Union Blue, and he has not disappointed by any means. His energy and competitiveness have been on full display since his very first shift, and he’s been an immediate difference maker for the Jackets. Through five games, he has just two points (one goal); but that only tells part of the story here. Adam has been fantastic.
The Jackets will take the ice tonight without star forward Patrik Laine, who was injured on a dirty hit at the very end of Friday night’s game against the Calgary Flames. The team placed Laine on IR yesterday, meaning he will miss tonight’s game as well as Thursday night’s game, at the very least. This move allowed them to recall forward Dmitri Voronkov from the Cleveland Monsters (AHL). In four games with the Monsters, he posted one assist, two penalty minutes, and a -1 rating.
You can catch all of tonight’s “Frozen Frenzy” action via ESPN+/ESPN2, with games starting as early as 6:00 Eastern Time.