Where the Blue Jackets might fit 7 new faces next season

The offseason is in full swing this week, and the Blue Jackets should be very busy. Today, we'll look at where 7 new faces could fit into the lineup next season.
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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Roster impact #2/3/4: revamping the defense...

I think it's possible we'll see two or even three new faces on defense for the Blue Jackets next season.

Consider this: they've allowed 300+ goals in each of the last three seasons. A lot of that has been due to the scheme (or lack thereof); but at least some of it is due to the players back there as well.

I think we can expect Zach Werenski, Damon Severson, and Erik Gudbranson back with almost 100% certainty. Werenski stood out in a big way (he was probably the team's MVP this season); while Severson and Gudbranson's contracts make them somewhat unmoveable. Which is fine, you just have to work around that.

Outside of those three, who do we really see making a big difference here? Ivan Provorov had his moments, but he struggled in his own end, often making glaring mistakes that resulted in goals against. He's a second pairing/PP2 guy, but I just don't think the fit is right here.

Adam Boqvist hasn't been able to stay healthy, and I would argue that a change of scenery might be good for both the player and team. The Jackets just aren't good enough defensively to have a guy like this on the roster. This is a job that can be filled internally, by top prospect David Jiricek.

And lastly, the Jake Bean experiment needs to end. I've said it before, and I'm pretty sure everyone would agree here. It just hasn't worked. I think a more physical, defensive minded player would be a great change of pace to play on the third pairing.

If you add that all up: I would expect two completely new defensemen. One to replace Bean, and another for depth (a #6/7 guy). If they do move on from Ivan Provorov before the season, another to fill his shoes. That could very well be filled by another top prospect: Denton Mateychuk.

Keeping count, that's a top-six center and at least three defensemen (counting Jiricek) - maybe as many as four. But Don said 7 new faces, so we aren't done yet.