Much like last summer, the Columbus Blue Jackets are coming off of a disappointing season where they failed to make the playoffs.
While they seemed to swagger through the 2015 summer, particularly in going big to get Brandon Saad, the atmosphere has been pretty meek for Columbus.
How could you puff your chest out after spending quite a lot of money only to finish second-to-last in the East?
Sergei Bobrovsky dealt with injury issues again – to the point that the team hired a specialist to try to fix him and others – but Columbus didn’t have the same health-related excuses in 2015-16 as they did in 2014-15.
This past regular season brought about an off-season’s worth of big moves, with John Tortorella becoming their new head coach and Seth Jones replacing Ryan Johansen as one of the faces of the franchise.
For better or most likely worse, the Blue Jackets are largely stuck with the group they assembled heading into last season. (Seriously, that salary structure is scary.)
It’s difficult to get too excited about this group heading into next season, from their fragile goalie to a forward group that lacks a first-line center.
The team did make waves with one off-season move, mind you, surprising many when their Finnish GM didn’t take a highly touted Finnish prospect. Instead, Jarmo Kekalainen selected Pierre-Luc Dubois, a decision that will be revisited for years to come.
So, there are a lot of negatives, but it’s not outrageous to imagine this team making big gains, possibly even grabbing a playoff spot.
Bobrovsky’s had health issues, yet he’s still a guy who can make a difference. There are nice young pieces in Jones, Saad, Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner.
Today we explore the many facets of a team hoping to turn things around after some tumultuous times.