Identifying the Core Pieces for the Columbus Blue Jackets

We talk quite a bit about the future core of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That core is at least a couple of years away from being a serious contender. Who do we consider to be a part of it?
Minnesota Wild v Columbus Blue Jackets
Minnesota Wild v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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Players who could conceivably still be here, but are noticeably missing from our 2025-26 lineup: Patrik Laine, Jake Bean, Andrew Peeke, and Daniil Tarasov.

I think Bean and Peeke will be on their way out this summer. These are the two players on defense, who are most heavily contributing to the logjam in Columbus.

At some point, the team will also have to make a decision on Daniil Tarasov. Yes, they have a lot invested in him. But, if he's not fully in control of the starter's crease by this time, they'll have to move on. It's not him and Elvis. It's him or Elvis.

Which brings us to Laine. In an ideal world, Patty will come back from his current leave of absence refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to be an elite sniper in the NHL again. He has the ability. The question for me here is; whose spot does he take in that future top-six?

Patrik Laine
Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

His age puts him in an odd spot, where he's not quite a veteran leader - or a part of the next young core. I could see this going either way, really. But, it starts with him coming back strong and pushing someone out of their role. If he does that, maybe they could shuffle someone else out for assets elsewhere in the lineup. The good news here is, if Patty is kept around, it will be because he's an elite goal scorer.

One other thing we have to mention: the Jackets are going to have yet another top-10 (top-5?) pick at this summer's draft. That player will be pushing for a job on the 2025 roster as well, and could make for some really interesting decisions.

Ultimately, as we said at the beginning of the article; the pieces are mostly here. It's just going to take time for them to develop.