There are plenty of story lines surrounding the Columbus Blue Jackets going into the season, but they can be summed up with one question: Will they finally get back into the playoffs? Since their first game in 2000, the Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs once and never won a postseason game.
So much needs to go right for Columbus to make it in the fierce Metropolitan Division, but two of the biggest wild cards are forwards Boone Jenner and defensemen Ryan Murray. Both highly regarded prospects will make their NHL debuts on Friday against the Calgary Flames, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Murray might already have a season of NHL hockey under his belt. He was on track to make the team after being selected with the second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. However, the lockout forced him to go back to the WHL Everett Silvertips where he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
Murray figures to get plenty of playing time in his debut as he’s been paired with James Wisniewski.
Of course, Blue Jackets fans are likely to see a lot of Jenner tonight as well. He’s penciled in to start his NHL career on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik.
“Based on what they were able to do and how they were able to play as a group, I would be foolish to try and experiment with (Jenner) now somewhere else,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said earlier this week.
Jenner was taken in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and took a big step forward last season with 45 goals and 82 points in 56 OHL contests. He’s also a physical force and consequently should make his presence known without the puck.
If those two are able to stick with the team and be significant factors then the Blue Jackets’ chances of making the playoffs will certainly be better. They’ll start that project tonight.