Tag: Boone Jenner

James Sheppard

Blue Jackets extend PTOs to Sheppard, Pihlstrom


With a rather large pool of unsigned veteran players to choose from, the Blue Jackets have opted to increase the competition in their training camp. To that end, Columbus announced that forwards James Sheppard and Antti Pihlstrom have been extended professional tryout offers.

Sheppard is coming off of a one-year, $1.3 million deal for the 2014-15 campaign. He started the season with San Jose, but was dealt to the Rangers on March 1 in exchange for a 2016 fourth round pick. He finished the season with seven goals and 18 points in 71 contests.

The 27-year-old is a veteran of 394 games and has recorded 91 points and 192 penalty minutes over that span.

Pihlstrom is a different case as the 30-year-old hasn’t played in the NHL since 2008-09. Instead he’s spent parts of the last four campaigns in the KHL. He had 16 goals and 28 points in 60 contests with Ufa Salavat Yulayev last season.

Columbus only has 11 forwards inked to one-way contracts, but that doesn’t include Alexander Wennberg or Boone Jenner. When those two are factored in, it’s hard to see Sheppard or Pihlstrom making Columbus’ opening game roster unless there’s an injury.

Blue Jackets ’15-16 Outlook

Scott Hartnell

Columbus’ goal for this year should be simple:

Stay healthy.

Last year, the Blue Jackets led the NHL in man games lost, with 502. That figure derailed what was supposed to be a building block campaign; the year prior, Columbus posted a franchise-high 93 points en route to the first two playoff wins in club history.

While the team isn’t using health issues as an excuse for last year, it does recognize it can’t allow injuries to be so disruptive.

“We need to find better ways to maintain and not have major dips,” head coach Todd Richards said earlier this summer, per NHL.com. “We might have injuries this year, and you’ve got to find ways to stay afloat instead of sinking.”

If they do stay healthy, the Blue Jackets should be a legit playoff contender.

Brandon Saad, acquired in a summer blockbuster from Chicago, will give the team a dynamic, goalscoring power forward up front, presumably to play alongside franchise center Ryan Johansen. Behind those two are a host of capable scorers: Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky, to name a few.

On defense, the picture is murkier.

The club is holding out hope that Ryan Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, is finally over the health issues that derailed his first two NHL campaigns. The 20-year-old, who has the potential to be a top-pairing d-man, only appeared in 12 games last year, after missing 18 in his rookie campaign.

Outside of Murray, the familiar cast of characters remains: Jack Johnson, David Savard, Fedor Tyutin and Dalton Prout, most notably. The Jackets are counting on that crew to improve internally and possibly get a push from prospects like Dillon Heatherington and Michael Paliotta, the latter acquired from Chicago in the Saad deal.

In goal, there are no questions.

Sergei Bobrovsky enters as the clear-cut No.1, coming off a campaign in which he missed significant time to injury and posted below average numbers (.918 save percentage, 2.68 GAA).

The hope is that Bobrovsky will return to the form that saw him win the Vezina two years ago, and that the skaters in front of him will stay healthy. If both those things happen, Columbus will be knocking on the door of playoff contention, and not a team opponents will want to face should it get in.

It’s Columbus Blue Jackets day at PHT

Ryan Johansen

After a stellar regular season and inspired playoff appearance in ’13-14, Columbus took a step backwards last year by finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference, and missing the postseason.

Though there were extenuating circumstances.

The Blue Jackets led the league in man games lost to injury, with 502. Nathan Horton, once the organization’s biggest free agent acquisition, didn’t play a single game before being traded to Toronto while Ryan Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, missed 70 of 82 games while dealing with a myriad of injuries.

Other key players, like Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky and Sergei Bobrovsky all missed extensive time as well. Despite that, there were bright spots — Ryan Johansen continued to post solid numbers, with a career-high 71 points, while Nick Foligno earned himself the club’s captaincy with a 73-point effort, tops on the team.

In the end, though, missing the playoffs proved a damaging blow to the momentum gained by their impressive run the year prior.

Offseason recap

Few teams made a bigger splash this summer. GM Jarmo Kekalainen stunned the league by acquiring budding Chicago star Brandon Saad, the 22-year-old power forward that won two Stanley Cups in his first three NHL seasons.

The Saad deal reverberated throughout the league. With him in the fold, Columbus created one of the youngest and most dangerous top lines in the NHL with Johansen (who only turned 23 in July) and whoever their running mate will be, be it Foligno or Scott Hartnell (or, possibly, 22-year-old Boone Jenner).

Elsewhere, the club added some veteran experience and leadership in the form of ex-Bruins forward Gregory Campbell. Kekalainen also re-upped with the likes of Matt Calvert, backup goalie Curtis McElhinney and depth d-men Justin Falk and Cody Goboulef.

At the draft, Columbus was a major player with three top-40 picks, and used them to select Michigan d-man Zach Werenski (eighth overall), Swedish blueliner Gabriel Carlsson (29th) and WHL Portland product Paul Bittner (38th).

Report: Foligno will be new Blue Jackets captain

Columbus Blue Jackets v Boston Bruins

On Wednesday, Columbus will reportedly confirm what’s been rumored for a while — that Nick Foligno will become the sixth captain in franchise history.

Foligno, 27, will receive the “C” following a great campaign which he scored a career-best 73 points, signed a six-year, $33 million extension and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.

Columbus has been without a captain since Rick Nash exited the organization three years ago. Prior to Nash, the leadership mantle was carried by Adam Foote (2005-08), Luke Richardson (2003-05), Ray Whitney (2002-03) and the club’s inaugural captain, Lyle Odelein (2000-02).

As for alternate captains — the Columbus Dispatch, which broke news of Foligno’s captaincy late Tuesday afternoon, reports that as many as four could be named, but might not be revealed until the fall. Candidates for the “A’s” will likely include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson. Ryan Johansen, the club’s leading scorer and arguably best player, could also warrant consideration though it remains unclear how he’s viewed in a leadership capacity after his tumultuous contract negotiation from last fall.

Columbus to announce new captain on Wednesday

Buffalo Sabres v Columbus Blue Jackets

Two weeks ago, Blue Jackets president John Davidson revealed the club was ready to institute a captain for the first time since Rick Nash departed three years ago, adding the player had already been chosen.

Next week, we find out who it is.

In an email sent to ticketholders — later confirmed by the Columbus Dispatch — the Blue Jackets announced they’ll reveal the sixth captain in franchise history on Wednesday evening.

It’s expected that Nick Foligno will inherit the “C”. Earlier this month, the Dispatch suggested the 27-year-old is the favorite, especially after coming off a great campaign which he scored a career-best 73 points, signed a six-year, $33 million extension and was named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game — an event that Columbus hosted, and during which Foligno emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.

Others in the mix, according to the Dispatch, include Boone Jenner, Scott Hartnell, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson. Worth noting that Ryan Johansen wasn’t listed among the favorites.